Agriculture Minister Maria do Céu Antunes
Dissatisfaction with Agriculture Minister Maria de Céu Antunes has marked her tenure. Image: António Pedro Santos/ Lusa

Agriculture minister accused of further political “manoeuvres”

Farmers don’t rule out further protests

Farmers belonging to the civic Movement of Farmers, as well as national federation, CAP (confederação de agricultores portugueses) have accused agriculture minister Maria de Céu Antunes of political manoeuvring, or rather further political manoeuvring.

In a statement, CAP tells its members: “According to the minister (Maria do Céu Antunes), in a political manoeuvre that she has unfortunately become accustomed to throughout her term in office, which is now coming to an end, this is support worth €320 million. From CAP’s perspective, the real new amount of support in 2024 is only €60 million”.

And according to CAP, “this support depends on authorisation from Brussels and is only paid if farmers make an application”.

As CAP’s statement suggests, farmers are used to what the civic movement dubs “counter-information”. They are frequently promised millions, only to discover they are endless ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’ attached to these (so-called) ‘extraordinary support packages’.

Emerging from a meeting with the minister in Lisbon yesterday, Ricardo Estrela, spokesperson for the civic movement, said farmers wanted to know how much money they could count on and when they would receive it, and the minister was unable to answer even these salient questions.

Estrela told television cameras: “one thing is certain, if these funds do not appear rapidly in our pockets, we will have to continue with our struggle, and return to the streets very quickly to demand what is our right”.

Farmers have said time and again over the last week or so of protests that they want politicians fighting the March elections to take agriculture ‘on board’, and explain what they will do if their party holds power after citizens have cast their votes.

To this end, the farmers’ movement/ CAP are expected to approach political parties next week, says SIC.

Up to this point, very little in the various political campaigns has had anything to say about agriculture. ND

Source material: LUSA/ SIC