The Republic of Malta is a small archipelago nation located in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, between Europe and Northern Africa. Home to a civilization that dates back thousands of years, Malta currently has a total territory of 316 square kilometers, which is almost twice the size of Washington DC, as well as some 200 kilometers of Mediterranean coastline. Likewise, Malta’s island formations are rocky, dominated by flat plains and coastal cliffs. Today, Malta has a total population of approximately 417.000 citizens, about 96% of which live in an urban setting, notably the capital city of Valletta with 197.000 inhabitants. Similarly, the median age in Malta is 42 years old.
Economics and Agribusiness in the Republic of Malta
Malta has an economy of some US$18.5 billion, in terms of purchasing power parity (PPP), which is divided into 2% agriculture, 10% manufacturing, and 88% services. Likewise, it is estimated that the agricultural industry employs 2% of the national labor force, while manufacturing employs 21% and services employ another 77%. Meanwhile, the agriculture industry utilizes 32% of the national territory, while another 1% is forested. In terms of natural resources, Malta has limestone, salt, and arable land. Within manufacturing, the national industry is focused on electronics, shipbuilding, construction, food & beverages, pharmaceuticals, footwear, clothing, and tobacco. Similarly, a large sector of the Maltese economy is dependent on tourism as well as aviation services, financial services, and information technology services. Simultaneously, the country’s agricultural industry has as main products potatoes, cauliflower, grapes, wheat, barley, tomatoes, citrus, flowers, green peppers, pork, milk, poultry, and eggs.
In terms of trade, Malta has been a member of the European Union since 2004 and a member of the Eurozone since 2008. During 2016, Malta imported US$7.13 billion worth of goods and exported US$3.6 billion, resulting in a trade deficit of US$3.53 billion. Furthermore, Malta’s main export, representing 26% or US$928 million of the country’s total in 2016, were packaged medicaments. On the other hand, the country’s main import that same year, representing 25% or US$1.75 billion of all international purchases, was refined petroleum. Likewise, Malta’s main trading partners are fellow EU members, such as Germany, Italy, and France, as well as the United States, Russia, China, and Singapore.
In recent years, the average per capita protein intake of animal origin amongst the Maltese population has been approximately 59 grams daily. Simultaneously, land distribution and output in Malta has evolved throughout the last half century. Back in 1961, arable land in the country covered 17.000 hectares and permanent crops accounted for 1.000 hectares. More recently, by 2015, arable land had decreased to 8.970 hectares and permanent crops covered 1.260 hectares. Meanwhile, in 1961, Malta devoted 3.649 hectares of land to the production of cereals and produced 4.964 metric tons annually. More recently, in 2016, the country devoted 3.819 hectares of land to cereals production and yielded 18.120 metric tons.