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Ponta Delgada ,  April 27, 2010

Azorean Agriculture prepares for future challenges

The Regional Secretary for Agriculture and Forestry stressed the “crucial” moment that the agricultural sector is undergoing, “particularly at a time when we are dependent on Community decisions, the revision of the CAP, facing new challenges and realities that constrain and determine much of our future.”

These statements were made by Noé Rodrigues, who presided over the opening session of the 12th Congress on Regional Agriculture which was held in Ponta Delgada, an event organised by the Agricultural Federation of the Azores.

Despite the rigid model which is often unsuitable for national and regional realities, the CAP is now more flexible and therefore more suited to each Member state.”

In the case of the Azores, the CAP has been converted into specific programmes that have adapted been to the regional reality. These programmes were prepared and presented by the Region after discussion and regional agreement in a process that will be carried out again to prepare the new programme period for 2013/2020.

With Community support and the subsequent commitment of the Regional Government in the agricultural sector, the strategic guidelines outlined for regional agriculture in the context of agrarian planning have been implemented by improving the accessibility as well as the water supply network and power grid in farms. These investments will improve the conditions of agricultural work, improve the quality of agricultural products, reduce operating costs and reinforce the income of farmers.

Noé Rodrigues also stressed the progress that has been achieved with regard to animal and plant health by developing the global animal health programme that currently offers the best indicators of diseases such as brucellosis and enzootic bovine leucosis, hence allowing the beginning of a new cycle of animal health in the Azores.

The Government of the Azores has focused also on agricultural and food products by controlling and monitoring food safety, defending public health and strengthening consumer confidence in agricultural food products from the Azores.

With regard to the provision of information and training of farmers, several information sessions on the income support and investment have been promoted. Moreover, specific and specialised training courses have been carried out to increase the farmers’ professionalism and competence.

As a result of the continuous investment effort in all areas of production, Noé Rodrigues highlighted the record of “considerable growths” such as the 37 percent increase of milk production in the Azores despite maintaining the same number of animals and the same quota which is distributed in accordance with the produced quantity, which demonstrates a reinforcement of productivity.”

With concern to beef production, the investments made in the regional slaughter network, which is approved and certified, have reversed the traditional marketing structures, hence “making them more effective and eligible for the slaughter premium that used to lose in the past.”

It is also important to mention that the considerable growth in the diversification areas, such as floriculture, fruit growing, beekeeping and horticulture has been usually related to the existence of active organisations in the market.

Despite the achieved progress, according to data on the Azorean agriculture, the Regional Secretary mentioned the existence of “many new challenges to face” in view of the end of the milk quota system.

In this particular case, according to a resolution approved in 2003, the Government of the Azores has been clear about its position regarding the defence of the milk quota system for Europe, because “although this scheme years has limited our real capacity production for many years, it created a sense of protection, stability and security for our protection and a greater predictability of the markets.” 

Taking into account the impossibility of maintaining the milk quota system, which will lead to the liberalisation of the sector, “we were able to create with all agents (producers and their organisations, milk industrial units and even political forces) a regional ‘petition’ that defends the possibility of developing our own milk production because we have good natural conditions and the necessary knowledge.”

 


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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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