Agricultural potential still vastly overlooked

news: Agricultural potential still vastly overlooked

Portugal is still not taking advantage of agriculture even though alternatives to the austerity measures are needed, said a top Portuguese economist last week.

Speaking during a seminar on corn production in Lisbon, João Salgueiro said agriculture offers important opportunities for the economy, as well as an alternative to a political programme centred round austerity measures.

In his opinion, the government is not adopting economy-enhancing policies to promote productive investment, such as agriculture.

Agreeing with Salgueiro’s views, the president of the national association of corn producers (ANPROMIS), Luís Vasconcellos e Souza, said that despite good economic growth perspectives in agriculture, there is still little investment in grain fields, for example, which could increase Portugal’s self-sufficiency rate in cereals.

He said: “If we consider the enormous potential of available fertile land in Portugal, particularly around the Alqueva (in the Alentejo), it clearly is pressing to create the conditions for this type of crop (grain) to contribute to a rise in agricultural income.”

Meanwhile, a recent proposal surrounding the re-launch of a television programme focusing on rural living and agricultural development has been met by criticism in Parliament.

The PSD/CDS-PP majority in Parliament has proposed that a TV programme, similar to TV Rural which was launched in 1960 but was discontinued three decades later, should be re-introduced with the aim of promoting the potential of agriculture in Portugal.

Opposition parties have vetoed the proposal, claiming the State-owned channel RTP should remain independent in its decision-making processes and autonomous when selecting television content.