The major challenge facing the agricultural sector in Malta is the availability of water.
Malta’s agricultural and food production system is suffering from the lack of investment in research and innovation, specifically, there is an awareness that Maltese efforts in a fundamental area such as water use in
agriculture research have been inadequate to cope with the local needs. The focus of this project is strongly related to the Smart Specialization Strategy in Malta. The aim is to strengthen the competencies of MCAST researchers in the field of water reuse in agriculture.
Fowarim research is focussed on four main themes:
- Decreasing Water Demand
- Making Use of Alternative Sources of Water
- Renewable Desalinization, On-Farm Desalinization and Utilization of Saline Water
- Decreasing Negative Environmental Externalities Caused by Nutrient-Rich Farm Waters
These themes will be embedded in all of FOWARIM’s specific objectives which are:
(a) Strengthening of collaboration between MCAST, DOA and the other partners in terms of research undertaken between researchers of the different entities and the sharing of information between these key players;
(b) Training of personnel at MCAST and DOA by CIHEAM-IAMB, CRU and UPC so that the Maltese entities will be able to work together and engage third parties for the development of excellent scientific research in the water in agriculture sector.
(c) Developing lines of research related to water in agriculture by experts from the three internationally leading research institutions in collaboration with personnel from MCAST and DOA. These would be developed during the training courses and the summer schools and worked upon during research undertaken in the postgraduate courses, the joint field experiments, etc.
(d) Publication of peer-reviewed papers resulting from collaborative research undertaken by MCAST and DOA researchers. It is being envisaged that three such papers would be finalized by the end of the project.
(e) Extending the partnership of internationally-leading research institutions by communicating, sharing information and transferring knowledge between the project partners and other European and non-European institutions working in the water in agriculture sector.
(f) Providing solutions and alternatives to local farmers and policy-makers as to how water in agriculture can be better managed and used. By undertaking demonstration trials and opening up these trials for the different stakeholders, their effects on the sector would be amplified and which would thus contribute to a better overall water landscape in the Maltese Islands. It is being envisaged that each new research, technology or system being tried out would be tested out by the industry or by other public Institutions.