Malta experienced the driest October in more than a century. The record dry weather means farmers face higher irrigation costs and less income as a higher supply of crops on the market, resulting from warmer temperatures, pushes prices down. Apart from the lack of water, local farmers must also battle insects that persist due to warmer weather.

The presence of these pests and fungi further impacts the quality of the crops, said Malcolm Borg, coordinator of farmers’ lobby group Għaqda Bdiewa Attivi. Over and above the climate-generated challenges, he said, local farms faced the “perennial issue” brought about by imported fruit and vegetables.

“Warm weather at this time of year will impact farmers in two ways. It increases expenses related to irrigation, which would generally not be done due to precipitation. And the warm weather makes crops grow faster, hence, there is generally an over-supply of crops on the market, pushing prices for farmers downwards,” Borg said, adding that examples included cauliflower, cabbages and aubergines.