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Ribeira Grande ,  February 15, 2018

Regional Government reinforces investment in infrastructures to continue modernising the agricultural sector

The Regional Secretary for Agriculture and Forests stressed today that the increase of investment in 2018 to improve accessibility and water and electricity supply in farms demonstrates the Regional Government's willingness to continue modernising the sector.
"This year, the amount of investment allocated by IROA (Regional Institute of Agrarian Planning) to infrastructures has nearly doubled. This clearly demonstrates the Regional Government's willingness to continue modernising the agricultural sector," João Ponte said, adding that it also intends to reduce costs.
João Ponte spoke at the IROA press conference for the presentation of the 2018 activity plan and budget. It will allocate five million Euros to investment sin infrastructures, namely agricultural roads, water supply and electrification.
The Regional Secretary stated that a farm with access to water and electricity represents a "very significant gain," either in the possibility of achieving better price of milk paid to producers or in terms of time and fuel saving. Hence, it is important for the Government continue this type of investment in infrastructures.
At the press conference, the President of IROA, Ricardo Silva, mentioned that this year's interventions will cover the construction, improvement and rehabilitation of more than 15 kilometres of agricultural roads on seven islands of the archipelago. He also added that the Region already has a network of 314 kilometres of agricultural roads.
In regard to the electrification of farms, the President of IROA stated that the planned investment will cover 33 farms, while for water supply to farms, there are planned interventions on eight islands in order to increase the storage capacity, direct supply to farms and improve the collection and distribution system.
At the press conference, the Regional Secretary for Agriculture and Forestry informed that there is, currently, a water storage capacity of almost half a million cubic meters in the Azores, with 190 distribution points. The water supply network covers an extension of 523 kilometres, 3,600 branches and 400 farms.
With regard to the early retirement measure, to which IROA will allocate 420 thousand Euros, João Ponte welcomed the fact that the post-2020 agricultural policy (CAP) could provide a different response than the existing one.
"Early retirements up to a certain point were financed by EU funds, but then they ceased to be. The last incentive scheme (for early retirement) is regionally based. Therefore, we welcome the fact that it might have a different response under the post-2020 CAP," said João Ponte. According to him, the rejuvenation of the agricultural sector is achieved with the entry of more people and with the retirement of older farmers with dignity.
The president of IROA also stated that the incentives for land acquisition, previously designated as Credit Support System for the Purchase of Land (SICATE) and now designated as Incentive Scheme for the Purchase of Agricultural Land (RICTA), will be allocated a sum of more than 516 thousand Euros in 2018.
Between 2001 and 2017, 381 applications were submitted under SICATE/ RICTA. They represent 25 million Euros of investment by farmers in the expansion of their farms and a total of 1,894 hectares of agricultural area.


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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