The Minister of Agriculture and Food Maria do Céu Antunes informed today that she had signed the order that recognizes the situation of drought in 40% of the national territory, in the south of the country.
According to the official, the order was signed on Friday after the guardianship had received data from the Portuguese Institute of the Sea and the Atmosphere (IPMA) attesting “that in the last two months there was no rain”, there were “three waves of heat during the month of April” and have been “average and maximum temperatures well above normal”.
“This allows us, together with the European Commission, to say that we are in a situation of drought”, informed Maria do Céu Antunes, in Fundão, where she attended the auction of the first 2023 Fundão Cherries and the presentation of the campaign to promote the fruit.
According to the supervising minister, the technical data made it possible to sign the order declaring the state of drought, which makes it possible to “activate a set of measures within the scope of support for farmers”.
Maria do Céu Antunes detailed that this aid could stem from the single request of the strategic plan of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) as "another set of measures" for which authorization is being asked from Brussels, one of which the fallow lands may be used for grazing.
The minister admitted that “the expectation is that the situation will tend to get worse” and the guardianship will “follow closely”.
Maria do Céu Antunes added that the Interministerial Commission for Drought will meet “whenever justified”, to take “the necessary measures” if it is imperative to expand the area covered by the state of drought.
According to the official, of the 65 hydro-agricultural reservoirs monitored, with approved contingency plans, 60 have assured the irrigation campaign, as a result of the rain in December and January.
“We have five projects with serious restrictions, which were already happening last year, but there are a number of investments that are being made in a structural way, so that we can improve these projects”, stressed the minister.
Maria do Céu Antunes stressed that there were “some administrative obstacles” to comply with the specific notice for the creation of ponds, but she stressed that it was a work carried out in conjunction with the Ministry of the Environment “to resolve” the situation and allow for a mesh of ponds that allow having “a greater capacity to hold water that falls less often, but when it does fall, it falls in large quantities”.