The Farmers Central Cooperative Society Ltd. is one of the oldest cooperatives on our islands.
Koperattivi Malta’s Farmers’ Central Cooperative Society Ltd. (F.C.C.S) celebrates a whopping 75 years since its inception in 1947. The Zabbar Farmers’ Cooperative, a member of F.C.C.S., was indeed the first every cooperative to be formed on our islands in January of 1947 due to worry over food scarcity following the end of the second World War. Farmers living in the region of Zabbar therefore banded together in order to purchase the needed products at a lower cost. Thus began the spirit of resiliency, industriousness and cooperation that infuses our farming cooperatives.
The first Maltese cooperative was soon followed by a number of other farming cooperatives, namely St. Paul’s Bay Farmers, Zebbug Farmers, Siggiewi Farmers, Rabat Farmers, Dingli Farmers, Mgarr Farmers and Qormi Farmers who further united in the same year to form the Farmers’ Central Cooperative. The aim of this secondary cooperative was to facilitate the purchasing and selling of agricultural products of all its primary cooperatives, which was later centralised to one space: The Pitkalija Market in Ta’ Qali, which currently consists of 4 central areas from which products are sold, administrative offices as well as a multi-purpose hall. F.C.C.S. has also grown to incorporate over 36 employees, 800 active farmers with an annual turnover of up to 12 million euro.
F.C.C.S has always worked with the future of its members at heart, investing in land, buildings, machinery and the latest technology: from cold-rooms that offer pristine storage, ongoing grading and packaging strategies that ensure the quality and integrity of products to participating in an EU research Project that aims to exploit nutrients from pig and cow slurry for fertilisation and simultaneously challenge climate and environmental issues more forcefully and directly. (https://synecomalta.com/).
The future teems with forward-looking initiatives as manager Joe Cassar, a member himself of the Qormi farmers’ cooperative since 1994 as well as of the committee of FCCS since 2008, explains. Members are continuously encouraged to participate in research projects that help to put local products at par with their European peers. Joe explains that his primary aim has always been to build positive relationships, ensure ongoing dialogue with members and solving common problems together, while simultaneously ensuring that the sector is kept updated with new technology and modern farming practices. F.C.C.S is also determined to make its products more accessible to its clients and remains focused on educating the community through ongoing television and radio interviews and the hosting of educational outings to school children as well as tourists, amidst growing concerns of the future of this sector. The dwindling number of younger farmers, the increasing food scarcity and cost hikes as well as a lack of public awareness and appreciation of their work, remain matters of deep concern to the farming community.
Despite these worries, F.C.C.S. continue to strive to take care of their own – ensuring support is given through difficulties that their members may face both as individuals as well as a collective such as the disruption brought about by the pandemic throughout which our farming cooperatives continued to serve the public.
Koperattivi Malta congratulates the Farmers Central Cooperative for their sterling work over the years and looks to them as a symbol of cooperative values – self-help and responsibility, democracy and solidarity and above all, resiliency. Here’s to another 75 years!