European Foundation
for the Improvement of
Living and Working Conditions

The tripartite EU agency providing knowledge to assist
in the development of better social, employment and
work-related policies

EU PolicyWatch

Database of national-level policy measures

Eurofound's EU PolicyWatch collates information on the responses of government and social partners to the COVID-19 crisis, the war in Ukraine, rising inflation, as well as gathering examples of company practices aimed at mitigating the social and economic impacts.

Factsheet for measure MT-2022-10/2197 Updated – measures in Malta

Subsidy for importers of cereals and flour

Country Malta , applies nationwide
Time period Open ended, started on 01 March 2022
Context COVID-19, War in Ukraine
Type Other initiatives or policies
Category Supporting businesses to stay afloat
– Direct subsidies (full or partial) or damage compensation
Author Luke Anthony Fiorini (University of Malta) and Eurofound
Measure added 29 April 2022 (updated 19 June 2023)

Background information

Malta largely imports its essential grains. The price of such grains had been increasing in recent years due to the impact of climate change on markets and the impact of COVID-19 on shipping. The price of wheat and other grains rose substantially following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

A Malta Today article reported that since March 2020, the price of wheat had risen by almost 30% after commencement of the war in Ukraine, and 60% since January. Some importers reported that prior to the war, they sourced their products from the Ukraine and Russia. Importing from Russia is no longer possible due to restrictions on financial transfers. Newspaper reports state that Malta's rice starch was entirely derived from the Ukraine, and 80% of imports of oats, maize starch and crude sunflower-seed oil were also imported from the Ukraine. Conversely, Malta's largest importer of wheat stated that this was not imported from the Ukraine due to its lower certification standards and much wheat was previously imported from Russia. The government noted that Malta was particularly susceptible to global price pressure due to the small amount of produce being imported due to the small market and limited infrastructure for storage.

A substantial rise in the cost of such essential grains would likely impact negatively upon several economic sectors, such as farming, animal husbandry, and industries producing or preparing food. High costs are also likely to have a large impact upon consumers in general. In response to this, the government stepped in to limit the impact of rising global prices upon the Maltese economy and individuals.

Content of measure

Initially, wheat and other grain importers stated that they were absorbing the additional costs of importation, or relying upon stocks held in Malta, and thus had yet to feel the impact of the changing global markets. It was reported that Malta's importers typically have a four month stock of wheat.

Following talks between importers and the government, it was announced that national funds would provide emergency liquidity for importers and that importers would be provided access to a national wheat storage facility (Corradino wheat terminals), which are able to store around 12 months worth of wheat. This was being done to stabilise prices in Malta.

The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries, Food and Animal Rights, Anton Refalo, revealed that €1.5 million will be provided to farmers and €2.5 million to animal breeders. More specific details of the financial assistance being given to importers was not provided.


The following updates to this measure have been made after it came into effect.

23 January 2023

The Q1/2023 Quarterly Review of the Central Bank indicated that by the end of September 2022, three facilities were approved under this measure, covering total sanctioned lending of €14.2 million. At the time, the outstanding level of disbursements from this scheme stood at €12.2 million.

24 October 2022

During the budget it was announced that in 2023, €600 million will be spent on controlling the prices of electricity and cereal. Further information was not available, however this amounts to 10% of Government expenditure.

09 May 2022

It was announced that enterprises that wished to apply for this subsidy were required to submit their application forms and supporting documentation by 20 May 2022.

Use of measure

On 20 September 2022, it was announced that the price of a loaf of bread in Malta had risen by 13% since August 2021. While this is a substantial rise for a staple food, the rise in Malta is the sixth lowest in the EU, highlighting the impact of government measures in this respect.

Target groups

Workers Businesses Citizens
Does not apply to workers Sector specific set of companies
Importing/Exporting companies
Applies to all citizens

Actors and funding

Actors Funding
National government
Employers' organisations
National funds

Social partners

Social partners' role in designing the measure and form of involvement:

Trade unions Employers' organisations
Role No involvement Consulted
Form Not applicable Direct consultation outside a formal body

Social partners' role in the implementation, monitoring and assessment phase:

  • Unknown
  • Main level of involvement: Sectoral or branch level


In early March, the chief executive of Federated Mills, which supplies milled flour to around three quarters of Maltese manufacturers, expressed concern about the difficulty of obtaining grains from the Ukraine and Russia during the war and while other countries were reported to be restricting their export. He called for government intervention. The the Malta Chamber of Commerce, also called for support, suggesting that temporary state aid was required for affected sectors, liquidity such as loans, and the establishment of a common purchasing facility to aid in procuring essential items from alternative sources were also needed.

Subsequent measures were announced following an agreement being reached between wheat and animal feed importers and the government.

Views and reactions

No views or reaction were expressed in the media or by public means in terms of this measure. It is worth noting that the measures were announced a week before a general national election and this may have affected coverage.

Sectors and occupations

    • Economic area Sector (NACE level 2)
      A - Agriculture, Forestry And Fishing A1 Crop and animal production, hunting and related service activities
      G - Wholesale And Retail Trade; Repair Of Motor Vehicles And Motorcycles G46 Wholesale trade, except of motor vehicles and motorcycles
      H - Transportation And Storage H52 Warehousing and support activities for transportation

This case is not occupation-specific.


  • 07 March 2022: Malta Today - Price of Maltese wheat supplies under threat following Ukraine invasion (
  • 08 March 2022: Malta Independent - Government allocated €4.5m worth of financial aid for farmers and farm animal breeders (
  • 13 March 2022: Times of Malta - Fresh warning that Ukraine war may lead to shortages, price hikes (
  • 14 March 2022: Wheat prices up 60% since January, importers seek state support (
  • 19 March 2022: Times of Malta - Price stability agreement reached with wheat importers, Abela says (
  • 19 March 2022: Newsbook - Wheat prices up by 60%, government to absorb price increases (
  • 09 May 2022: Times of Malta - Emergency subsidy for importers of cereal, flour, animal feed (
  • 20 September 2022: TVM - Price of Maltese bread increases by 13% in August – sixth lowest increase in the EU (
  • 24 October 2022: Malta Indepedant - Budget 2023: €600 million allocated to absorb energy and cereal price increases (


Eurofound (2022), Subsidy for importers of cereals and flour, measure MT-2022-10/2197 (measures in Malta), EU PolicyWatch, Dublin,


Eurofound publications based on EU PolicyWatch

30 January 2023


Measures to lessen the impact of the inflation and energy crisis on citizens

Governments across the EU continue to implement policies to support citizens and businesses in the face of rising food and energy prices caused by the COVID-19 crisis and intensified by the war in Ukraine. This article summarises the policy responses as reported in Eurofound's EU PolicyWatch database from January to September 2022.


12 September 2022


First responses to cushion the impact of inflation on citizens

Although the worldwide pandemic situation had already disrupted supply chains and triggered increases in energy and food prices in 2021, the situation deteriorated in 2022 with the Russian invasion of Ukraine.


12 September 2022


Policies to support EU companies affected by the war in Ukraine

This article summarises the first policy responses that governments across the EU have started to implement to support companies affected by the rising prices, and those with commercial ties to Ukraine, Russia or Belarus.


5 July 2022


Policies to support refugees from Ukraine

This article summarises the first policy responses of EU Member States, including those of the social partners and other civil society actors, enabling refugees to exercise their rights under the Temporary Protection Directive.


Disclaimer: This information has not been subject to the full Eurofound evaluation, editorial and publication process.