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Horta ,  February 12, 2020

Fruit growing potential of the Azores should be harnessed, says João Ponte

The Regional Secretary for Agriculture and Forestry stated on the island of Faial that the fruit growing potential of the Azores should be harnessed with a view to its growth. It will contribute, on the one hand, to satisfy the domestic market and, on the other hand, to increase exports of subtropical fruits, such as pineapple, banana, anonna or avocado, among other products of excellent quality that are well adapted to the Region.
“The Azores have great potential for fruit production, which can be harnessed and boosted, creating more value and helping to reduce imports," João Ponte stressed, pointing out, as example, the five thousand tonnes of apples or the four thousand tonnes of citrus fruits imported in the past three years.
"The implementation of the Strategic Plan measures and a good coordination between production, producers' organisations and the marketing sector can contribute to a qualitative and quantitative leap in regional fruit production," stressed the Regional Secretary, who spoke Tuesday at presentation of the proposal for the Fruit Growing Development Plan (PROFRUTA) in the Azores.
The government official stressed that the Government intended, with this document, to harness of the experience and knowledge of the technicians working at the Regional Secretariat. Moreover, it aims to point out the good production results of some fruits in the archipelago to identify shortages, present solutions and assess long-term opportunities, through practical and feasible measures in favour of sustainable fruit development.
“There are a number of areas in which we must further invest, such as training, experimentation, improved marketing and public support to compensate farmers during the first 4/5 years after the creation of orchards,” said João Ponte.
In the specific case of Faial Island, with the potential to produce more bananas and citrus fruits, among other fruits, the Secretary for Agriculture mentioned that the Plan presents a series of proposals, such as the creation of a unit for the vegetative propagation of fruit varieties, a unit to process surplus production and a collective cold storage unit.
The Regional Secretary also highlighted the importance of PROFRUTA being linked to Strategic Plan for Organic Farming and POSEI. In this regard, he mentioned the stipulated aid of 1,400 Euros per hectare and the additional aid granted to producers in Organic Production Mode as well as the Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) and Protected Designation of Origin (DPO) certifications, and exemption from apportionment. Nevertheless, it is necessary to be "bolder in the support and aid granted to fruit production."
For João Ponte, the creation of orchards must be supported with aid during the first years of planting in order to compensate for the unproductive phase of the plants. As he added, the Regional Government is already working with producers' organisations with a view to the certification of fruits, such as bananas and annona, under the European Union's quality scheme.
“This is the path that we must continue to follow. I am sure that with the implementation of this Plan, the conditions are met to have a fruit sector in the Azores that satisfies many of the needs of the domestic market and contributes to the growth of exports from the Region, ” João Ponte said, adding that the final PROFRUTA  document should be completed by June.


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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