The PS (Socialist Party) today recommended the Government to suspend new avocado farms in the Algarve and set environmental sustainability rules for farms with super-intensive irrigation, given the reduction of water reserves in the region.
In recent years avocados have become ‘trendy’, but they guzzle four times more water than Algarve’s traditional orange crops. Known as ‘green gold’, farmers sell 1 kg of oranges for about 0.5 euros, while a kilo of Avocados sells on average for 2.20 euros, according to the regional agriculture authority. Production costs are also lower thanks to less pest control required.
In a communiqué, announcing the delivery of a draft resolution signed by the Socialist deputies elected by the Algarve, the PS defends the “imposition of limits on the expansion of agricultural areas with super-intensive irrigation in view of the also limited water availability in the region”.
In the draft resolution presented by deputies Luís Graça, Jamila Madeira, Joaquina Matos, Ana Passos and Francisco Oliveira, parliamentarians considered “the correct and prudent setting of rules and limits […], so that everyone can enjoy the future of a resource as precious as it is scarce ”, like water.
“It is indisputable that the farmer must have the freedom to cultivate what he likes most from the point of view of economic profitability”, the deputies refer, arguing, however, that there should be rules in view of the limitation of water resources in the region, “not always fully available in view of the priority needs of human consumption”.
Socialist deputies argue that, to the investment of more than 200 million euros in the scope of the Water Security Plan for the Algarve, included in the Recovery and Resilience Plan, it must “correspond the same effort of saving and efficient water management by all sectors of human activity”.
In the document, the parliamentary group recommends that the Government, through the ministries of Environment and Climate Action and Agriculture, establish “within a maximum period of 90 days, minimum conditions of environmental sustainability to be observed for new explorations”.
For the deputies, these conditions include the availability of water, by the promoter, under the prior opinion of the national water authority and the “obligation to be the subject of prior communication, which may be reviewed every two years depending on the limits of water availability in the Algarve region”.
Original article available in Portuguese at http://postal.pt/