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Brussels calls for Portugal to boost organic farming

Portugal must prioritise environmental preservation and boost organic farming, the European Commission said in a report released on Friday.

In a set of recommendations made by the European Commission to help Portugal elaborate a national strategic plan under the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) for 2021-2027, Brussels stressed that biodiversity preservation remains a challenge in Portugal.

The report also stressed that the conservation status of agricultural habitats is judged to be inadequate, partly due to the abandonment of traditional agricultural systems.

According to Brussels, Portugal’s organic farming regions are “well below the European Union average” and agricultural systems that have a positive impact on the environment are developing slowly. Brussels emphasised the need to finance good agricultural practices that respect biodiversity.

The availability of water and the quality of the soil are two other significant challenges for the agricultural sector, according to the recommendations. Portugal is one of the countries in the European Union (EU) with the highest levels of water abstraction, the commission pointed out. 

The document also noted that without enough water, some crops may collapse by 2050, and that gains would therefore drop dramatically.

The Commission highlighted that Portuguese agriculture needs to improve the climate transition in line with the objectives of the Farm to Fork Strategy and that of biodiversity.

The European Commission on Friday released recommendations for Member States to prepare their national strategic plans to achieve the nine objectives outlined in the Common Agricultural Policy 2021-2027.

The political agreement on the new CAP is expected to be concluded by spring 2021, during the Portuguese presidency of the EU. Member States have until January 1 2022 to present their strategic plans.