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Ponta Delgada ,  April 13, 2020

Regional Government is working to improve liquidity of the agricultural sector during pandemic

The Regional Secretary for Agriculture and Forestry stated today that the Regional Government is working to improve the liquidity of the agricultural sector in order to mitigate the impacts of the current pandemic, without excluding the possibility of moving forward with other more robust initiatives if needed. 

"As for the liquidity of farms, we have already taken a series of measures, such as giving top priority to the analysis of payment requests under the scope of PRORURAL + and the Support Programme for Agricultural and Forest Modernization (PROAMAF)," João Ponte said, adding that, last week, 2.5 million Euros were paid in advance for payment requests regarding investment projects that had been validated. 

The government official spoke at a hearing by video conference at the Committee on Economic Affairs of the Legislative Assembly. On the occasion, he stated that the Financing Institute for Agriculture and Fisheries (IFAP) will anticipate the payment of 70% of the investment amount presented by promoters in case of payment requests already submitted or under analysis.

With regard to POSEI, João Ponte revealed that the payment of approximately one million Euros for the milk producers' supplement, which would take place in June, will also be anticipated to April. 

According to the Regional Secretary, there should be “common sense and consideration in decisions,” as occurred during the last drought period or when Hurricane Lorenzo hit the Azores, rejecting outright the adoption of measures in accordance with the electoral calendar. 

"The Regional Government will not fail to support farmers and producers' organisations to face the impacts of this pandemic, but, in fact, it is still not possible to accurately assess the total impacts on the sector," João Ponte said, adding that agriculture continues to work and produce, unlike other sectors that have lost income overnight. 

In this context, the government official stressed that a "close proximity" monitoring is being carried out through weekly meetings with the Azores Agricultural Federation and the main dairy industries, as well as other players in the sector, which has enabled the Regional Government to perceive how it is reacting and evolving in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

In the dairy sector, João Ponte pointed out that there has been no reduction in producers' income so far. Hence, it not is necessary, at this stage, for the Regional Government to put forward specific measures, despite having already called on the dairy industries in writing for the need to maintain the “trust” in producers and avoid eventual drops in the price of milk.
Regarding the meat sector, the government official stressed that there has been no deterioration in prices and that, until the week before Easter, there has been an increase of 8% in the number of cattle slaughtered and of 16% in exports. It is therefore necessary to wait a little longer to understand what will be the evolution of the market, being certain that, with closed borders and Portugal not being self-sufficient in meat production, an opportunity arises and the regional meat sector should seize it. 

In the case of protea production, João Ponte stressed that, together with the producers' organisations, the Government is assessing the damage caused by the reduction of exports in order to draw up an aid mechanism.


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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