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Angra do Heroísmo ,  August 29, 2019

Agricultural diversification shows growing dynamics and attracts young people in the Azores, says João Ponte

The Regional Secretary for Agriculture and Forestry highlighted today the growing dynamics of agricultural diversification in the Azores, both in terms of increased production area and in terms of young farmers' adherence. According to him, there is still plenty of room for the sustained growth of these productions.
“Having regard to the last four years, agricultural diversification production areas accounted for the POSEI programme have grown by about 40 %,” revealed João Ponte, who spoke at the end of a visit to a horticultural production farm on the island of Terceira.
Among the 230 young farmers' first installations in the current Community framework, João Ponte pointed out that 25% have chosen to invest in areas such as fruit growing, horticulture and floriculture, among others.
"Hence, the evolution of the agricultural sector is not solely based on cattle farming as it publicly stated on numerous occasions with the intent of misrepresenting reality,” stated the Regional Secretary.
For the Regional Secretary, the fact that the POSEI appropriations for horticulture and fruit production have been growing on a continuing basis is another relevant indicator, which has registered an increase of almost 40% since the beginning of the legislative term.
In regard to the proposal to amend this programme for 2020, João Ponte revealed that the Aid to the Production of Vegetables and Fruits and Other Crops provides for a 10% increase in the case of producers approved for the use of Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) and Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) schemes or certified for Organic Production Mode (OPM).
"The focus on diversification, not only as an inhibiting factor in food imports but also as key factor to promote exports, is a means to improve the profitability of agricultural activity, and for that reason it is important to strengthen producers' commitment to this agricultural component," stated João Ponte.
The Strategic Plan for Organic Farming is already being implemented in the Region. It aims to expand production areas and the supply of agricultural and agri-food products, with environmental and health benefits as well as to enhance production value.
Simultaneously, the Strategic Plan for Beekeeping in the Azores has been completed. This is a key document for the sustainable growth of honey production and the development of agriculture, given the contribution of bees as natural pollinators but also in the pollination of other plants. Hence, they contribute to the preservation of plant species, to the balance of the ecosystem and to the maintenance of biodiversity.
João Ponte stated that horticulture and fruit growing will be also addressed in several action plans, considering that they will be key parts for this sector to continue to grow.
As for the horticultural production farm visited today on the island of Terceira, the Regional Secretary for Agriculture and Forestry said it was a good example of strength, resilience and innovation.
In addition to the production and sale of vegetables and fruit, this agricultural entrepreneur will move forward with the installation of an industrial unit for the production of ready-prepared products such as salads and soups, peeled/packed vegetables and herbs. This project was approved under PRORURAL+, representing an investment of 137 thousand Euros.


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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