MIL OSI-C. Mediterranean Region: Portugal
The contract for the work of the Amoreira irrigation network in Óbidos was launched with the presence of Prime Minister António Costa and the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Rural Development, Capoulas Santos.
The project is part of the project for the hydroelectric exploitation of the Baixas of Óbidos and Amoreira, in the municipalities of Óbidos and Bombarral, where the signing ceremony was held after a visit to the Arnoia dam completed in 2005 and to the irrigation block of that county, already in execution.
This project represents an investment of 25 million euros that will involve 1,000 hectares of land and 900 farmers in the parishes of Amoreira and Olho Marinho in the municipality of Óbidos and the Pó and Roliça in Bombarral and is National Irrigation Program.
More knowledge and innovation: better products
The Prime Minister pointed out that this is “one of the best agricultural regions in the country”, “which contributes most to our agricultural production and exports”.
Stating that the country should be grateful to the farmers for the effort they have made, António Costa added that “agricultural activity, like industrial activity, needs innovation in order to improve significantly”.
He said that “all Portuguese know from experience” that “in the last twenty years the quality of our wine has improved immensely”, he recalled that “what changed the quality of wine was the ability of producers to incorporate innovation, to have oenologists in their productions. “
‘The same has happened with regard to agricultural production, horticultural production and the diversification of our production’, and ‘this is why we have to continue’ and that it must be based on a ‘great alliance between the State and economic agents ‘.
Raise investment and open markets
The Prime Minister said that “it is up to the state to do two things: to create better conditions so that those who invest can produce more, produce better and profitably; and help open up and create new markets for these productions. ” ‘This is why this national irrigation program is of the utmost importance’.
António Costa said that the president of the association of beneficiaries of the irrigation network told him that this “will allow to quadruple what is now produced, in addition to the possibility of diversifying crops and having more than one crop per year in some areas’.
The National Irrigation Program “is one of the major structural reforms the country has made in recent years to increase agricultural potential, productive potential and the ability to do more and do better,” he said.
“This investment has an extraordinary multiplier effect”, and must be complemented by the “effort the country has made to open new markets, new products and new countries”, because “the more diversified the destinations of our exports , we are sure to continue to have a market even when the crisis hits here or there, “making it difficult to export.
The Prime Minister also said that “it is essential to continue this joint work between the State, local authorities, entrepreneurs, farmers” to “transform these three years of strong growth of an exception into a rule of continuous and lasting convergence with the European Union”.
Only through this growth and the continued and sustained reduction of the deficit can it improve the living conditions of the Portuguese, continue to create quality jobs, each time with a better salary and greater profitability for those who invest “, he concluded.
55 projects approved
The Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Rural Development, Capoulas Santos, said that of the National Irrigation Program, “55 projects are already approved, corresponding to a total investment of 278 million euros, 18 of which are already in the work “, representing an investment of 86 million euros.
By the end of 2018, the area of Government of Agriculture should launch competitions for other investments that amount to 282 million euros, the main of which is the expansion of the Alqueva irrigation system, covering 55 thousand hectares of agricultural land.
Other projects approved for the construction or renovation of irrigation systems for agriculture are Vila Franca de Xira (more than 30 million euros), Óbidos-Bombarral (25 million euros) and Campo Maior (25 million euros) .
There are investments in irrigation in Alfândega da Fé, Vila Flor, Mirandela and Macedo de Cavaleiros, Chaves (North Region), Soure, Marinha Grande and Alcobaça-Nazaré (Center), and Sado Valley, Alcácer do Sal, Santiago do Cacém , Montemor-o-Novo, Alandroal, Alamos channel, Mourão, Redondo and Odemira (Alentejo), Silves, Castro Marim and Lagos (Algarve).
The National Irrigation Plan has investment of 560 million euros until 2023, 60% of the projects corresponding to the construction of new irrigation systems and the remaining 40% to the remodeling of existing systems.
The Government wants to “provide the country with more than 100,000 hectares of irrigation, between new irrigation and the re-qualification of existing ones, a way to mitigate climate change and reduce production costs.”
“It is a very important response for a country that wants to continue to see its agriculture grow above the rest of the economy, which wants to continue to grow in exports, which this year have grown by 6% compared to last year,” said the Minister.
These investments will make it possible to create 10 500 jobs in agriculture, the government estimates.
The Government is also negotiating funding for the next financial framework of the European Union (Portugal 2030) for the second of the program, to cover at least another 100 thousand hectares.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and / or sentence structure be perfect.