Portugal Invests in Exports, Promotes Mediterranean Diet

Portugal’s Ministry of Agriculture has announced Terra Futura, a wide ranging plan to promote sustainability while boosting the country’s agricultural production and exports.
Photo courtesy of Portugal's Planning, Policies and General Administration Office
Oct. 1, 2020
Paolo DeAndreis

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The Portuguese Ministry of Agriculture has launched a new ini­tia­tive to bol­ster the country’s agri­cul­tural sec­tor, which has the dis­tin­guish­ing fea­ture of hav­ing no fixed bud­get.

Maria do Céu Antunes, the country’s min­is­ter of agri­cul­ture, said the ini­tia­tive is sep­a­rate from but aligns with the goals of the European Union’s Common Agricultural Policy and sev­eral other sim­i­lar ini­tia­tives.

See Also: European Farmers Ask E.U. Not to Cut Agricultural Spending from New Budget

The Terra Futura ini­tia­tive out­lines five main goals that it seeks to achieve over the course of the com­ing decade:

  • increase the num­ber of sus­tain­able farm­ing oper­a­tions
  • greater adher­ence to the Mediterranean diet
  • increase in the num­ber of young farm­ers
  • more research and devel­op­ment
  • increase the value of agri-food pro­duc­tion

The min­istry plans to achieve the five goals through fif­teen ini­tia­tives, which have been divided into four over­ar­ch­ing cat­e­gories. The Portuguese gov­ern­ment hopes that fol­low­ing through with the plan will help mit­i­gate the impacts of cli­mate change and increase its agri­cul­tural exports, includ­ing olive oil.

Among the ways the ini­tia­tive may be imple­mented, the min­istry cited the use of byprod­ucts from olive oil pro­duc­tion.

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Similar to what is hap­pen­ing in Spain, do Céu Antunes said that waste byprod­ucts from olive oil pro­duc­tion could be trans­formed into bio­mass, a form of renew­able energy, which may be used to power olive mills or sold onto the wider energy matrix.

The ini­tia­tive also calls for the cre­ation of 24 inno­va­tion net­work” cen­ters, which will be spread across the coun­try. According to the min­istry, one of these cen­ters would be solely ded­i­cated to pro­mo­tion of the Mediterranean diet in Portugal.

Separate from the ministry’s ini­tia­tive, but in the same vein, the Portugal-China cham­ber of com­merce has been meet­ing recently to dis­cuss eco­nomic ties between the two coun­tries.

On the agenda is the recently announced Casa de Portugal project, a new plat­form that will help sell and pro­mote Portuguese prod­ucts such as wine, honey and olive oil – all of which are in high demand in the world’s most pop­u­lous coun­try – to Chinese con­sumers.

If all goes accord­ing to plan, by 2030 the min­istry hopes to:

  • increase over­all food out­put by at least 15 per­cent
  • increase funds for R&D by 60 per­cent
  • expand sus­tain­able agri­cul­ture to make up at least half of all oper­a­tions in the coun­try
  • raise adher­ence to the Mediterranean diet by 20 per­cent
  • have 80 per­cent of young farm­ers work­ing in low-den­sity agri­cul­tural areas

The rel­e­vance of exports in the plan was empha­sized by the min­istry. According to Do Céu Antunes, the National Statistics Institute has reported that agri­cul­tural exports between January and July 2020 have grown five per­cent when com­pared to the same period of the last year.”





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