Flooding of the rice fields in the Alentejo region of the country could result in a €3 million loss, according to the president of the Portuguese Rice Producers Association (AOP), João Reis Mendes.
The floods have delayed the preparation of seedbeds, and the excessive rainfall over the past weeks has destroyed infrastructures essential for rice production.
Although the president is not in a position to precisely evaluate the total damage regarding the 515 rice farmers from the Sado area, he estimates a loss of more than €3 million.
“By now, the preparation of the land should already be in progress,” he told Lusa news agency, with a reminder that machines cannot operate in wetlands and the rice planting season would have to be delayed until June.
“About 80% of the 9,500 hectares of the rice fields in this area were damaged by the floods,” he said. In addition, discharges from dams that reached maximum levels of water storage have also contributed to this scenario, and a reduction of 15% in rice production is expected this year.
João Reis Mendes stressed that the Ministry of Agriculture should help the farmers affected by using funds from the Rural Development Programme (PRODER).