Livestock is defined as the domestication of agricultural animals for the production of commodities such as, meat, milk, eggs, meat and wool. A characteristic present within the agriculture sector involves the short supply chain where products generated from livestock are made available to the consumer within hours from harvest. This decreases the need of preservation and allows the product to be enjoyed in a fresh manner. The most common commodities deriving from livestock in Malta are milk and dairy products, pork meat, eggs, cheeselets (ġbejniet), rabbit meat and honey.
Cheeslets – The primary by product from the sheep and goat sector is the production of the local delicacy ‘Maltese Ġbejniet’. This particular cheese is a staple in the Maltese diet and is made predominantly from sheeps milk. Both pasteurised and unpasteurised products are available on the market. Ġbejna is the only traditional cheese of the Maltese Islands. Locally it is produced both on industrial scale and on family run sheep farms, and the method is very simple. Ġbejna can either be consumed fresh (not long after production), or dried. Fresh Ġbejna is typically used in Soppa ta’ l-Armla, a traditional winter vegetable soup. Dried and preserved cheeselet are a key ingredient of Ħobż biż-Żejt.
Milk & Dairy Products – The dairy sector has a strong local consumer market, with the population often preferring the locally sourced products over foreign imports. The local dairy market has branched out into several product lines ranging from fresh milk, yogurts, butters and a variety of cheeses among others.
Did you know that: If we had to take all the milk produced in Malta in a year, we will have enough milk to fill up the national swimming pool up to 48 times; in contrast, the wine produce on a yearly basis is not enough to fill up the national swimming pool!
Meat – The majority of meat produced in Malta comes from swine and broilers, while cattle farming for beef production in Malta is only considered to be a by-product of the dairy industry. One could also mention rabbit meat, which has traditionally been the most popular meat in Malta possibly because it was the only edible wild animal to be found in the countryside.
Honey – In Malta we produce three different types of honey that are harvest in three different periods, this is because bees forage on different flora during the year. Therefore we can find the Spring multiflora honey, which is harvested between the end of May to beginning June. Wild thyme honey or also known as Summer honey is the second harvest carried out in late July or within the first week of August. The third harvest of the year takes place during the first week of December and is collected mainly from eucalyptus and carob trees.