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Vila do Porto ,  July 01, 2020

Santa Maria agricultural sector followed path towards sustainable growth, says João Ponte

The Regional Secretary for Agriculture and Forestry stated today that the agricultural sector on the island of Santa Maria has followed the path towards sustainable growth, as evidenced by the statistical data, which is the result of farmers' investments and the policies implemented by the Regional Government. 
“Between 2016 and 2019, beef production on the island of Santa Maria grew 14% and four of the five approved projects under PRORURAL+ for the first installation of young Santa Maria farmers are dedicated to beef cattle farming,” said João Ponte, who spoke at the end of a meeting with the Board of the Santa Maria Agricultural Association.
The government official also pointed out that the highest figure ever was registered in terms of bovine carcasses exported in 2019, generating economic gains on the island, precisely in the year when the local slaughterhouse was certified with the ISO 22.000 standard on food quality and safety. This certification enhances new business opportunities on an island with optimal conditions for the production of excellent beef cattle with good genetics. 

In the context of POSEI, João Ponte stressed that very important changes were introduced to enhance the development of the meat sector, pointing out, as example, the exemption from slaughter premium reduction in first 20 slaughtered animals of each producer, which allowed 99% of Santa Maria beef producers to receive the aid in full. 

"If we have been able to follow this path on the island of Santa Maria in the beef sector over the last years, we are confident that we can continue to do more and better for a strategic sector in the local economy," João Ponte said, highlighting the reactivation of the cutting room, which is being operated by the AgroMariense Cooperative. 

João Ponte recalled the stimulus provided by the Regional Government to this production, increasing the amount of POSEI's aid to this production from 1,150 Euros to 1,540 Euros per hectare. 

“This is a path that must be continued, given the island's potential, the quality this production and the projection it has already achieved. In this regard, the Regional Government is and will always be available to continue supporting producers, especially this year when there will be increased challenges in the outflow of this production," said the government official. 

The government official also welcomed the fact that Santa Maria submitted, for the first time, eight applications to the VITIS programme, an overall investment of 230 thousand Euros, with a view to the recovery of traditional vineyards. He also recalled that the last call of this programme awarded priority status to the implementation of projects on the islands of Terceira, Graciosa, São Jorge, Faial, São Miguel and Santa Maria, all of which have wine production potential that deserves to be further enhanced. 

The Regional Secretary also highlighted the fact that the Regional Government has managed to approve with the European Commission a budget amendment to the PRORURAL+ programme for the budget increase of the Agri-environment measure, renewing the commitments of Santa Maria farmers for the maintenance of extensive farming in 2020 by 60%. 
“All of these indicators evidence the economic dynamics and growth of the agricultural sector in the current legislative period, a path that must be pursued with determination in the future, given the existing potential and the productive capacity”, said João Ponte.


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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