Siege Farming In Malta

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Swynnerton R.J.M
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Malta and Gozo contain some 45,000 acres of arable land on the '114 square miles of their rocky islands, of which some 2,000 to 3,000 are under irrigation. While this area, obviously, cannot support the population of over a quarter of a million, besides the Services, it keeps the 13,000 peasant farmers who, with their families, total some 70,000 souls, fully fed. Ample supplies of fresh vegetables, potatoes, onions and milk are sold to the civil and Service inhabitants of the towns and Mediterranean clover, vetches and carobs to the urban goatkeepers and to the carters for their horses. Despite this, however, the bulk of the food requirements of Malta have to be imported as well as many thousands of tons of feeding stuffs and 2,000 tons of seed potatoes per annum. The only agricultural exports of importance in peacetime were 10,000 to 15,000 tons of potatoes to Britain and the Continent of Europe, 2,500 tons of onions and 250 tons of cumin seed, their total value being about £130,000 annually.
East African Agricultural And Forestry Journal, XII (1), p. 21-25