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Angra do Heroísmo ,  March 20, 2009

Government reinforces assistance for agricultural sector

Government reinforces assistance for agricultural sector

The Regional Secretary for Agriculture and Forestry said that the investment plan of the Government of the Azores for 2009, currently being analysed at the Legislative Assembly, will increase by 15%, in relation to the previous year, the funds allotted to assure the regional participation in the EU programme PRORURAL.
Speaking at the at the opening ceremony of the second Agricultural Journeys event, which took place at  Biscoitos, Praia da Vitoria, and  which was organised by the City Hall of that city, the Secretary for Agriculture and Forestry said that “this is yet another contribution for the centrality of this sector in the Azorean economy and society.”

The Secretary emphasised that Azorean agriculture, because of its socio-economic importance, the wealth it generates, the hundreds of businesses that proliferate around it, the indirect and direct jobs it creates, for its importance to land-planning and for the landscape, and “principally for its strategic importance to the sustainable growth of the Azores, is a sector that mobilises many and varied interests about which everyone talks about.”

Thus, the immensely significant role of agriculture in the Azorean economy and society, made it imperative do define “strategic orientations.” The Secretary said that the Regional Government did exactly this in the “past four years “referring to the new programme of governmental assistance recently initiated.

This was achieved “in constant and open dialogue with all partners in the sector, in particular with the producers associations that have contributed so much to the formulation and definition of strategic operational programmes that are now being implemented.”

The Secretary said that, “I think it is clear to all of us, despite the defamatory remarks of the opposition, that there are three sources of financing in the agricultural sector: PRORURAL, POSEI and the Regional Investment Plans.” He added that each financing programme has its own objectives and measures that complement each other.

The Secretary underlined that the allocation of financial resources to the PRORURAL assistance funds “was considered a success by everyone in the region” and enabled the implementation of assistance programmes and concrete measures that revolve around “two strategic axis of investments made in our agricultural sector.”

The Secretary added that increasing the competitiveness of the agricultural-forestry sector implies, on the one hand, “investing in the creation of infrastructures, in the modernisation of farms and in adding value to agricultural products” and, on the other hand, “the valorisation of the rural sector, a goal that is best secured by investing in the improvement in the quality of life and in the diversification of the rural economy whilst preserving and valuing the environment and the rural landscape.”

Noé Rodrigues said that “farmers can count with the reinforcement of investments in the Agricultural Land-Planning Programme that shall improve transport, water and energy distribution networks that are used by farms.”  He added that “despite investing much in these domains, we still have much to do because we know that these investments improve working conditions in the agricultural sector, reduce production costs and increase the quality of products and incomes.”

The continuation of public investment in the agricultural production structures, the continued implementation of early-retirement schemes, jointly articulated with support granted to the establishment of new farms, assistance for purchasing of  new land and  the launch of agricultural credit-lines that will help restructure existing farms, are other facets of the governmental agricultural policy.

Another fundamental aspect of the strategic orientations of PRORURAL programme is the support granted to farmers that wish to modernise their farms. This free financial support can cover up to 75% of all investments made, the Secretary said.

With regard to the transformation of milk, Noé Rodrigues said that this is “fundamental to the valorisation of agricultural products” and that the Regional Government “is willing and capable of supporting these investments in the milk-processing industry, in accordance with rigorous standards of efficiency and productivity.”

With regard to the beef sector, the Secretary said that “PRORURAL programme, in addition to providing funds for the modernisation of the abattoir network in order to make it capable of responding to new demands, will support projects that will propel recent initiatives in the commercialisation of packaged meats, thus reducing the export of live stock.” Noé Rodrigues said that support for diversification measures will continue to be granted.

Investments of less than three thousand Euros are not covered by the PRORURAL programme. Therefore, the Regional Government created a programme that provides 50% of financial assistance to such investments, PROAMA. This programme has benefited around two hundred farmers.

Noé Rodrigues spoke also about the “successful POSEI negotiations” that today allow us to “have today a revenue assistance programme for the farmers that grew 77% since its introduction in 2007” and which “enabled the reinforcement of production prizes that are better adjusted to our conditions as well as the establishment of new prizes.”

Finally, the Secretary for Agriculture and Forestry mentioned the funds allocated to supporting the access of regional products to markets, such as support granted for the inter-island and export transportation of products, the creation of labels and packages, measures to divulge and promote Azorean products abroad.” He said that these measures “fall within the ambit of the strategic and institutional programme that the Regional Government is implementing to stimulate the consumption of regional products and promote their visibility in the markets.”


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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