Incêndio no concelho de Odemira
Local people in the borough of Aljezur, fighting the fire that spread from Odemira and destroyed over 8,400 hectares, along with animal pasture/ hay/ straw etc. Image: LUÍS FORRA/LUSA

Cash support announcement for wildfire hit farmers in Alentejo/ Algarve

€8,400 for Odemira farmers; €5,400 for those in Aljezur

Portugal’s minister for agriculture has today announced support of €8,400 for farmers affected by the fires in Odemira earlier this month, and €5,400 for Aljezur, to reach those affected between September 6-8.

Maria do Céu Antunes was speaking at a joint press conference with the Minister for the Environment and Climate Action, Duarte Cordeiro, after a meeting of the Standing Committee for the Prevention, Monitoring and Follow-up of the Effects of Drought.

“We already have a quantification of what will be needed to help farmers whose pastures and farm equipment have been destroyed,” she said.

The minister specified that the measure applies to cattle and sheep farms and that a survey is also being finalised in relation to beekeeping, in order to assign a figure to honey producers per hive.

At the July meeting on the drought, the minister announced an amount of €35 million to support farmers, which will now be paid out via an application process.

“We’re talking about a simple procedure, which will now be materialised in concrete terms,” she said.

Giving an overview of the country’s drought in the agricultural sector, the minister said that in the area of irrigation, 65 hydro-agricultural reservoirs are being monitored, of which five have “serious problems” and some are barred from irrigation, to the detriment of use for public supply.

Compared to the same date last year, there is now an additional 9% storage capacity in the country’s reservoirs, she said: “Our reservoirs currently have around 65% storage capacity, which gives us an advantage over last year and the prospect of preparing for 2024 with greater confidence”.

The minister attributed the “advantage” to the application of a set of contingency plans on reservoirs and to a “great effort” by Portuguese farmers to save water.

The government will make a new assessment on 1 October.

Source: LUSA