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Angra do Heroísmo ,  November 12, 2018

Regional Government challenges farmers to reduce dependence on aid by reducing farm costs and boosting production

The Regional Director for Agriculture stated on Terceira Island that farmers should increasingly focus on boosting production and reducing farm costs to improve income and depend less on aid.
"The path to be followed involves animal genetic enhancement, the reduction of imported food to boost the profitability of agricultural activities and the decreased dependence on aid," said José Élio Ventura. He spoke at a lecture on the theme "Drought, farming, difficulties and aid - being a farmer is more than an occupation - it is a mission." The event was organised by the Beef Cattle Breeders' Association of Terceira Island.
José Élio Ventura acknowledged that farmers have a hard life that requires a spirit of sacrifice and dedication but stressed that Azorean farmers "really like what they do."
"It is fair to recognise that working conditions have greatly improved over time, through mechanisation associated with an ongoing modernisation process, which has made farmers' life much more functional," said the government official.
For José Élio Ventura, the mission of farmers is to produce more healthy food in accordance with good agricultural practices that also safeguard animal welfare. These aspects matter to us and are especially important for a growing number of consumers.
"In the Azores, we have exceptional conditions to produce environmentally-friendly, functional and organic products. Firstly, the vast majority of our animals are raised in the open air 365 days a year," said the Regional Director. He also praised the role of Azorean farmers in safeguarding the environment, nature and spatial planning.
The Regional Director also mentioned that the future of agricultural entrepreneurs is assured as far as "it has been stressed at many forums that food needs are growing due to the growth of the world population."
In regard to the effects of the drought that hit the Azores this year, José Élio Ventura pointed out that the most pessimistic forecasts regarding milk and meat production were not confirmed.
"On Terceira, milk production has grown more than 3%, being with the remaining islands of the archipelago.  Cattle slaughters also increased 10% on Terceira and 11% in the Azores in the first 10 months of this year," announced the Regional Director. According to him, the latter indicator may be related, in part, to the need to reduce the animal stock in farms due to the drought.
José Élio Ventura also stated that the meat sector "still has a long way to go". It is necessary to continue improving the quality of the meat industry, obtaining better carcass conformation and investing in ready-prepared products in order to meet market needs. Moreover, it is also important to generate more added value and boost income for the entire industry, namely for meat producers."
The Regional Director also expressed his surprise at the differences between the Azores and Mainland Portugal in terms of meat prices, which, despite the evolution, "cannot be totally justified by the fact that we are separated by the Atlantic Ocean."


Official government press-releases presented in all foreign languages interfaces of the Azorean Government Portal (Portal do Governo dos Açores) are a sub-set of the government's official press-releases daily output and are chosen for translation and publication on the foreign language interfaces based on audience segmentation criteria. The entire collection of the Azorean government press-releases is available in portuguese, here, from the GACS Press Office site.

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