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Ponta Delgada ,  September 12, 2018

Agricultural production in the Azores assures high quality and food safety, says João Ponte

The Regional Secretary for Agriculture and Forestry stated in Ponta Delgada that the Azores have stood out for high quality agricultural production and food safety, because of the commitment to the training of farmers and the supervision carried out by regional public entities.
 
"In the Azores, the number of producers whose horticultural crops showed pesticide levels above the legal limit has been residual. The number of infringements detected by the analyses of samples collected in products of plant origin has decreased significantly. In 2015, no infractions were detected and, in 2016 and 2017, there was only one infraction registered each year," said João Ponte.
 
The Secretary for Agriculture spoke at the opening of the international conference on "Benefits and Risks of Exotic Biological Control Agents," stressed that the use of biological auxiliary organisms in agriculture is an important and useful alternative to chemicals.
 
In his speech, delivered to fifty participants from 17 countries, João Ponte emphasised that the Regional Government has strongly invested in the training of farmers to improve their knowledge and awareness of risk factors, such as the accidental introduction of new pests and diseases.
 
"Over the last two years, the Government has promoted more than 250 training courses focused on the application of plant protection products, covering 2,600 trainees in a total of 4,000 hours of training," said João Ponte. In this regard, he also added that monitoring and control actions are carried out on annual basis to producers, service providers and local authorities.
 
As for the good performance of the Azores, the Regional Secretary emphasised the actions developed by regional administration technicians, particularly those working in regional laboratories.
 
João Ponte also defended that scientific knowledge is essential if the best political options in agriculture are always to be taken, given the sector's importance for the regional economic and social fabric.
 
"This conference is of paramount importance to discuss serious matters with the utmost scientific rigour, disseminate the work carried out in these areas and to avoid raising false alarm in public opinion, sometimes based on public positions without any technical or scientific ground," said João Ponte. In this regard, he stressed that the "use of plant protection products involves highly regulated criteria in the European community."
 
The Regional Secretary revealed that the working group set up to design a regional strategy for the development of organic farming has already submitted the final document to the Regional Directorate for Agriculture, after including contributions received during the public discussion phase.
 
This phase is now followed by the assessment and validation.  The final version of the document is expected to be published later this year.


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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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