CCDR proposes to the Government support and investment measures in agriculture in the Algarve

Document was created in «close coordination and with the consultation of sector associations»

The Algarve Regional Coordination and Development Commission (CCDR) announced 21 support and investment measures in the region's agricultural sector and suggested "various support and direct aid to the economy", for the years 2024 and 2025.

These suggestions are part of a work proposal that CCDR Algarve presented to the Government, addressed not only to the Ministers of Environment and Agriculture, who were in Faro last week, to participate in a meeting of the Interministerial Drought Commission, but also to the ministries of Economy and Territorial Cohesion.

After all, the CCDR estimates that the necessary support could amount to 100 million euros.

The proposal, which included contributions from technicians from the former Regional Directorate of Agriculture and Fisheries, recently integrated into the CCDR, was made in «close coordination and with the consultation of sector associations» and defends, not only, the need for more investments to increase water availability, but also direct financial support to farmers.

In the agricultural sector, the CCDR proposes 10 support measures and 11 investment measures.

To help farmers, this entity proposes non-refundable financial support for production losses, aimed at agricultural companies and livestock producers.

CCDR Algarve also wants support lines to be created for debt restructuring and treasury, both for micro and small companies and for medium-sized companies.

The moratorium on the payment of credit installments already contracted, lay off simplified, the temporary exemption from the payment of Social Security contributions, the exemption from the conservation fee on public irrigation perimeters and support for operating costs, «namely due to the drops in income from the exploitation fee, of irrigation associations (from Alvor and Silves, Lagoa and Portimão)” are the other proposed support measures.

On the investment side, “changes to the operational programs of Producer Organizations are proposed, to include/strengthen interventions, intervention types and investments aimed at crisis prevention and risk management”.

The CCDR also speaks of support for investment «for new catchments», but also «for the rehabilitation of existing catchments», giving, in both cases, «preference to collective boreholes, where water resource conditions allow».

The State should also support the «construction of small ponds», with «+ simplex for the respective licensing», the «use and use of water resulting from the intersection of precipitation through the greenhouse structure», the «use and use of Water for Reuse (ApR)” (treated wastewater), “reverse osmosis water treatment solutions, and portable desalination plants, where technical-economic and environmental conditions allow” and “works to improve efficiency in public hydro-agricultural developments” .

The Algarve entity also wants money to be made available for «study and work aimed at capturing the dead volume of the Arade reservoir», for operations to replace the productive potential and for «the payment of support for basic income (aid linked to production) to be maintained ) for already established crops”.

In addition to the measures aimed at the agricultural sector, the CCDR proposal also talks about water for human consumption and non-domestic use, calling for «the implementation of commitments to optimize and reduce consumption, particularly in non-domestic use», as well as the reduction of losses in down systems.

In the Algarve 2030 Regional Program, “a budget of 66 million euros was included for the urban water cycle, supporting the intelligent use of water, including ApR and works in the system on the rise, which will leverage a total municipal investment of 100 million euros. euros, in addition to the 240 million euros currently guaranteed under the Recovery and Resilience Plan».

With regard to the business sector, the CCDR argues that «given the alert situation we are experiencing, the necessary contingency measures proposed by the APA must be balanced, within a framework of proportionality, avoiding an excess that would make economic activity unviable».

Especially because the availability of water “is essential for the economic, social and territorial cohesion of the region, as well as fundamental to ensuring some economic diversity, in a region that is and will continue to be heavily specialized in tourism”, according to the same entity.

In the same document, «the urgent progress of the first largest desalination plant in the Algarve – also the result of intermunicipal preparatory work –, with the launch of the respective contract tender, as well as the execution project and subsequent contract tender for the construction works. capture in Pomarão, as soon as the necessary environmental authorizations are obtained», is considered consensual, despite the fact that many voices have already been raised against the two projects.

«Together, these two works will make an additional 46 cubic hectometers (hm3) of water available in the second half of 2026», it reads.

Where the CCDR Algarve also says that there is a «regional consensus», although, in reality, there is strong opposition, mainly from environmental associations, to the project, it is around the advancement of works on the Foupana dam, «an initiative taken up by the Association of Regantes Sotavento do Algarve with the support of the Ministry of Agriculture and Municipalities, which could provide an additional 60 hm3 of water».

«The launch by the Government of technical studies and identification of financing sources for a connection between the Alqueva Dam and the Odeleite Dam, as well as the transfer of water to the Santa Clara Dam, is also extremely urgent and an urgent decision. and from there to the Bravura Dam, political decisions by the Government that we believe garner widespread support in the region», adds the same entity.

«Although this exercise has the aim of transmitting to the Government the special economic and social impact of reductions in water availability, we emphasize that the measures presented may be undersized, as we have adopted a strong precautionary approach, reiterating the call for a of proportionality, avoiding that the decisions taken are excessive in their repercussions on economic activity and companies», concludes CCDR Algarve.

This entity also deserved praise from Macário Correia, in a session in which he spoke on behalf of farmers in the Algarve, the demand more water and fair distribution of restrictions on its use, in the Algarve.

«The CCDR presidency has had an almost daily dialogue with us and has produced documents to alert three ministers, Environment, Agriculture and Territorial Cohesion. (…) The CCDR has been fighting for balanced apportionment, for proportional measures and has fought for the valorization of agriculture, highlighting to the Government that agriculture in the Algarve has increased in recent years the Gross Value Added, the value of exports and is a growing sector in the regional economy", said the former social-democratic mayor.



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