FENAREG - National Federation of Irrigators of Portugal, with the objective of defending and developing Irrigated Agriculture, joined its colleagues from Spain, Italy and France to form an entity that would gather and defend this fundamental sector of agriculture, not only in the Mediterranean areas, but also at a supranational level.
The largest and most representative Water Management Associations for Agriculture joined forces for a better dialogue with the European institutions and to ensure a strategy geared towards the growth of irrigation, allowing an evolution of the activity, based on sustainable management, the promotion and competitiveness of the sector.
Portugal was honored to receive the act of constitution of the IRRIGANTS D'EUROPE association, in June 2017 in Santarém, and FENAREG was entrusted with the task and responsibility of representing Portugal and assure the presidency of IRRIGANTS D'EUROPE during this first period.
Irrigation and water management are decisive for sustainable agriculture in Portugal, but also in Europe, responding to the challenges of food security and climate changes. It is therefore important to develop a European strategy, in the medium and long term, to mitigate these questions.
Irrigated agriculture is essential for a balanced and sustainable growth of all European agriculture, in particular in the Mediterranean area, where if we don´t have irrigation, we don’t have agriculture.
Agriculture needs to be recognized as a fundamental sector, at social, economic and ecologic levels. To materialize this issue, we need a strong bet on irrigation.
Last year, it was catastrophic in Portugal, with the forest fires - the loss of human lives, houses and vast agricultural and forestry areas - but also with the drought that followed, all over the national territory, with special impact in agriculture and livestock raising. In addition to the need to restore the productive capacity, the process of accelerated desertification in these areas must be stopped.
A new strategic plan to increase water reserves, also designed for multiple purposes, has clearly demonstrated its usefulness not only in Portugal but also in other Mediterranean countries. It serves for agriculture, serves to supply populations and serves for industrial development, as well as the production of renewable energy and firefighting. Portugal and all European countries have to deal very seriously on these matters, particularly in the interior regions.
Attention should be given to a specific water policy for the Mediterranean areas, with an emphasis on the inevitable need to increase water storage capacity and an irrigation-oriented agricultural policy as a basis for a sustainable development in the rural areas.
This will not only promote irrigation activity, but also prevent desertification of the rural world and the extinction of its culture, mitigate climate changes, ensure the balance between regions, fix populations and promote a more just and plural society.
These are the reasons for the creation of the IRRIGANTS D'EUROPE, in which FENAREG, in representation of the Portuguese irrigators, is committed!