Portugal gears up for the farming of the future
Portugal’s agricultural policy for the future was outlined in Lisbon on Wednesday by the Minister for Agriculture, Maria do Céu Antunes.
The minister was speaking at a lunch-debate organised by the International Club of Portugal (ICPT) on ‘Food and Health – the other side of agriculture’ which took place at the Hotel Sheraton on Wednesday (14 October).
In her address to business leaders and members of the ICPT, she reminded those present that while people spoke of tourism and real estate as being the main drivers of the Portuguese economy, it was in fact agriculture that was also responsible for much of Portugal’s economic export growth in recent years in a sector that was continuing to be strong and successful.
The minister used the opportunity to outline an ambitious programme for agriculture for the next ten years, Terra Futura, which aims to digitalise, modernise and innovate Portugal’s agricultural sector while at the same time producing quality goods and produce that meet today’s increasingly stringent health concerns, especially concerning turning to the use of natural pesticides and fertilisers.
According to the minister, total expenditure in the Government’s Budget Programme for Agriculture for 2021 will have increased by 31.6% on 2020, a real growth of 29.8% in what she said was an export sector which, in addition to real estate, had become one of the main drivers of the Portuguese economy.
“This budget is focusing on sustainable, innovative and quality farming practices, with an investment that will enable us to meet the challenges of a sustainable and innovative agriculture while safeguarding food quality and safety in agro-food production and securing planning, coordination, management and control when it comes to applying both national and EU funds to the benefit of national agriculture within a well-thought-out rural development policy,” said Maria do Céu Antunes.
The minister also highlighted that the Government would continue to carry out the Programme for Rural Development – PDR2020, which is “a key instrument for the development of Portuguese agriculture”.
During her address, the minister also trumpeted a key success for the Government in negotiating the export of milk and other dairy products from the Azores to Brazil which had also been secured with the help of the Secretary of State for Internationalisation, Eurico Brilhante Dias to a market which is extremely important for the Azores, often seen as the Dairy of Portugal.
In fact, it had been one of the hot topics discussed in the Brazilian capital Brasilia in April last year and paved the way to finding a solution to protectionist opposition since Brazil is one of the largest milk producers in the world.
The Portuguese Government is focused on developing and promoting farms and allied farm product companies overseas and consolidating and boosting the overall export market and opening up avenues to new markets for companies in the sector and for Portuguese products.
Maria do Céu Antunes also talked about the implementing of the Agenda of Innovation for Agriculture 20I30 – Terra Futura – “whose objective is to boost the growth of the agricultural sector, passing it on to the next generation in a way that leaves no one behind.”