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Ribeira Grande ,  May 02, 2019

Pasture improvement is major asset for Azorean agriculture, says João Ponte

The Regional Secretary for Agriculture and Forestry said today on São Miguel that the improvement of pastures in the Azores is a major asset for the reduction of costs in farms and for environmental sustainability, besides being a competitive advantage that must be optimised by industries.
"The continuous improvement of pastures and the consolidation of knowledge on pastures are two key aspects to enhance the quality of production and the profitability of farms," João Ponte said, adding that "at least 70% of farm's costs concern animal feeding."
The Secretary for Agriculture spoke in Ribeira Grande at the opening session of the 40th Spring Meeting, an event organised by the Portuguese Society of Pastures and Forages under the theme "Sustainable Pastures and Forages in the Azores."
João Ponte emphasised the fact that consumers are increasingly aware of animal welfare issues and willing to pay more to consume "high nutritional quality products from grass-fed animals that are also associated with environmentally friendly farming practices." According to him, this is a great opportunity for producers to enhance the value of their products.
"I have defended that industries have a huge competitive advantage for processing Azorean milk, which is associated with the image of pastures and environmental sustainability. This added value has to be further leveraged in terms of production enhancement," stressed the government official.
The Regional Secretary for Agriculture and Forestry also highlighted the contribution provided by the University of the Azores to the agricultural sector in the training of technicians for regional public service in the area of agriculture as well as in the conduction of studies and research on the development of the sector.
In turn, the Regional Government has been promoting a comprehensive training plan every year towards the qualification of farmers throughout the archipelago as more and better knowledge and information means being better prepared to face the challenges of the future.
"Moments such as this one, which bring together speakers of recognised merit and important matters, are a good opportunity to reflect and reinforce skills. This is absolutely essential to progress and fine-tune strategies to improve the sustainability and competitiveness of farms," stated the government official. In this context, he noted that Azorean pastures occupy more than 90% of the agricultural area.
João Ponte also stated that the Regional Government, in conjunction with the Azores Agricultural Federation, is working to restructure milk production and to improve the efficiency of dairy farms. These goals will be achieved with the introduction of changes to POSEI 2020 that will enable the reduction of cattle between 15 to 20% above the regular cattle renewal rate without penalty for farmers in the payments of the Dairy Cow Premium and the Milk Producer Premium.
"We are aware that everything is not done and there is room for improvement, innovation, namely with regard to the sustainability of farms," stated João Ponte. On the occasion, he assured that farmers can count on the motivation and confidence of the Regional Government to continue supporting the development of agriculture in a demanding and challenging territory.


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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