The Minister of Agriculture, Luís Capoulas Santos, said he is all for the application of sanctions for those of Portugal’s Councils that do not have an updated Municipal Forest Defence Plan against fires.
In interviews, the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Rural Development said it is “incomprehensible” that there remain 28 Councils in Portugal with outdated fire plans.
“There is a sanctioning framework that, in my opinion, should be applied,” argues the Minister responsible, noting that the application of such sanctions is not actually his Ministry’s responsibility.
“So far there has been a persuasive, non-sanctioning attitude but in my opinion the time has come for sanctions to be applied,” he says.
In the interview, the minister also speaks of the “great difficulty” – of the Ministry itself, but also of the private ones – in finding enough operators to carry out the cleaning of the rural areas.
Asked if there is a drought in the country, the minister comments: “We are worried, we are surveying the situation, have measures in execution, but talking about drought is manifestly exaggerated.”
Capoulas Santos says that “all the farmers were pleased that the rain fell in April, but it was not enough to recharge the dams and the groundwater”.
However, this rain “greatly mitigated the effects of drought”.
“There is at present no indicator of any breach of production in any agricultural activity” due to any lack of rainfall, he said.