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Ribeira Grande ,  November 30, 2019

Azorean Agriculture is now better prepared to overcome challenges, says João Ponte

The Regional Secretary for Agriculture and Forestry stated that Azorean agriculture is now better prepared to overcome the existing challenges as a result of the investments in farms, health, genetics and animal welfare as well as the implementation of strategic measures in conjunction with all stakeholders in the sector.
“Today, Azorean agriculture is better prepared and better structured to meet future challenges. What we have built in this legislative period and in the past has made an important contribution to face the challenges we still have to overcome, such as the price of milk, the impacts of climate change with droughts and hurricanes, unfair commercial practices that weaken regional producers, and the consumer demands on quality, animal welfare and high environmental standards," said João Ponte.
The government official spoke Friday on São Miguel Island at the opening of the 6th Holstein Friesian Breed Competition. On the occasion, he considered that this event is another opportunity to recall farmers' hard work and resilience, which yielded positive results that allowed them to follow the path towards success.
“Regarding the modernisation of infrastructures, more than 200 applications for milk production were approved in this legislative period, representing an investment of 25 million Euros and the entry of another 50 young farmers into the milk sector," said João Ponte.
This competition also highlights the importance of the milk sector on the island of São Miguel from an economic standpoint as this island accounts for 66% of regional milk production. This sector generates several million Euros of revenue, contributes to job and wealth creation, and boosts the local economy.
For João Ponte, this event is simultaneously an opportunity to project the future of milk production in the Azores, focusing on cost reduction in terms of the investments that can and should be made in farms, but also through other measures that have been implemented.
The government official noted that two PRORURAL+ opening notices, with an overall allocation of five million Euros, were launched this week for the modernisation of farms and the entry of young farmers. They will contribute to the creation of more opportunities for the growth and rejuvenation of the sector, thus giving confidence to the future.
As for POSEI in 2020, João Ponte noted that an important step was taken towards improving the efficiency of dairy farms, which enables producers to reduce their herd and production up to 20% and maintain POSEI aid.
The Regional Secretary also considered that the competition organised by the São Miguel Agricultural Association also contributes to the promotion of agricultural production, whose need for value creation is imperative.
“Recently, important steps have been taken in this area, starting with the release of pasture milk, organic milk, the efforts undertaken by the Azorean Milk and Dairy Centre (CALL) for the certification of butter and the promotional campaign of dairy products in Canada, also through CALL," said João Ponte. According to him, "these efforts will necessarily yield results in the near future.”
With regard to climate change, João Ponte stated that the Region does not take lessons from anyone on the impacts of agriculture on climate change, because we have been producing in the Azores "with these environmental concerns in mind for a long time."
However, this does not mean that the Azores are not aligned with the concerns of Europe and the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). In this context, the government official reminded that a working group involving industry partners has already been created in the Azores to define a specific plan for agriculture and forestry with a view to carbon neutrality.
The Regional Secretary for Agriculture and Forestry also announced that he will meet the Minister of Agriculture in Lisbon on Monday. The reform of the Common Agricultural Policy will be one of the main issues the agenda.


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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