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Angra do Heroísmo ,  August 06, 2018

Farmers may apply from today for additional drought aid granted by the Regional Government, says Regional Director for Agriculture

The Regional Director for Agriculture, José Élio Ventura, revealed today that the first application was already submitted on the island of Terceira under the ordinance granting additional aid to compensate farmers for production losses in maize and horticultural crops due to the drought affecting several islands of the Azores.
"Today, the first application was already submitted on the island of Terceira," stated José Élio Ventura at the opening of the 30-day application period. 
The aid granted by the Regional Government follows the sharp and persistent decrease of rainfall that has been registered in the Autonomous Region of the Azores since early March 2018, affecting the crops concerned in a very significant manner.
The Regional Director for Agriculture explained that in order to benefit from this support measure, farmers should go to the Agrarian Development Services of their islands to declare the parcels of land affected by the drought so that technicians may carry out an assessment and determine the percentage of losses.
The financial support allocated for proven losses in maize and horticultural crops ranges from 25% to 75%. Farmers with losses below 200 Euros are excluded from this additional support scheme.
The reference amounts shall be stipulated by order of the Regional Secretary for Agriculture and Forestry.
According to estimates presented by José Élio Ventura, "maize crops in the Azores cover an area of about 12 thousand hectares while horticultural crops represent an area of about 1200 hectares." In this context, the government official mentioned that maize crops are "absolutely important for animal husbandry in the Region, both for milk and meat production and for meat production."
As José Élio Ventura mentioned, the islands of São Miguel, Terceira, Graciosa and Santa Maria are the most affected by drought in the Azores, namely coastal areas. In fact, the most severe problems with production and crops have occurred in these areas.
For the Regional Director for Agriculture, the effects caused by drought on maize will be more pronounced during the winter, when food availability is lower.
"In order to compensate farmers and mitigate the impact of drought, the Regional Government has already allocated support for the purchase of fibrous food, including concentrates, straw and pressed hay. The aim is to ensure the supply of food in farms and help farmers to increase food reserves for the winter period," said José Élio Ventura.
The Regional Director for Agriculture pointed out that the damage caused to maize crops is "quite uncommon" and, therefore, the Regional Government is paying special attention to this situation.
"The last situation occurred in 2011, when maize was affected not by drought but by storms and strong winds during the harvesting season, which also harmed the crop. At the time, the Government also aided farmers affected by this situation," recalled José Élio Ventura.


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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