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Velas ,  July 28, 2020

São Jorge's cooperative sector is on the right track, says João Ponte

The Regional Secretary for Agriculture and Forestry stated today that the cooperative sector of São Jorge Island is on the right track, despite the various challenges it faces, namely the effects of the pandemic or the increase of US customs duties on European dairy products. 
“The quality of São Jorge cheese and consumer loyalty have been truly determinant aspects for the positive results that have been achieved and allow us to say that São Jorge's cooperative sector is on the right track,” said João Ponte, who spoke in Velas at the end of a meeting with the Board of UNIQUEIJO. 

The government official stressed that, contrary to the initial concerns, the fact is that UNIQUEIJO did not register any drop in sales due to the increase in the customs duties applied to European dairy products at the end of last year by the USA, so the consumption of São Jorge cheese in that country has not been affected. 

The pandemic also posed increased challenges to the sector; however, despite the drop registered by UNIQUEIJO in sales at an early stage, the assessment of the first six months is very satisfactory. 

The Regional Secretary also assured that the Regional Government is permanently attentive and committed to defending the sustainability of the dairy sector in the archipelago, in general, and on the island of São Jorge, in particular. 
“For the sustainability of the cooperative sector, it is essential to maintain the level of production currently registered on the island of São Jorge, which is around 30 million litres of milk”, considered João Ponte. In this context, he stressed that “this was the only reason why the measure for the conversion of dairy farms to beef production was not implemented on this island." 

João Ponte stated that if the Regional Government had extended the implementation of this measure to São Jorge, it could have jeopardised the economic viability of the cooperatives and the future sustainability of the local dairy sector. 

The government official also challenged producers' organisations as well as regional dairy industries to harness the potential of the measures aimed at the dissemination and promotion of agricultural products made available by the European Union due to the pandemic. Hence, they will be able to enhance the viability of their productions both in the domestic market and in third countries. The application period runs until the end of August.
During this visit to São Jorge, the Regional Secretary for Agriculture and Forestry also met with the president of the Farmers' Association, with whom he discussed the progress of various investments in agricultural infrastructures that are under way on the island, as well as the impacts of the pandemic on the agricultural sector. 


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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