The Minister of Agriculture announced today that the expansion of Alqueva irrigation by another 50 thousand hectares is expected to be completed by 2023 and by then it will be possible to define the model for the management of irrigation blocks.
“It will be in 2023 that we will have the Alqueva project completed, not with the initial 110 thousand hectares,” nor with the 120 thousand that irrigates today, but with 170 thousand, “said Luís Capoulas Santos, in the village of Montes Velhos, Aljustrel, district of Beja.
The Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Rural Development spoke at the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Purple Beneficiaries Association and after visiting infrastructure, businesses and estates of hydro-agriculture in Aljustrel.
Currently, Alqueva irrigates 120,000 hectares, 10 thousand more than initially planned, and will be expanded to benefit another 50 thousand hectares.
The expansion of the Alqueva irrigation system by a further 50,000 hectares will involve an investment of 210 million euros and is part of the National Irrigation Program, which provides for a global investment of 560 million euros to reclaim obsolete irrigation or build new ones and benefit an area total of 100 thousand hectares.
“We will, therefore, have a large work front until 2023, when the project [of the 1st phase of the National Irrigation Program] will close and we will enter cruise speed,” said the minister.
Until 2023, he continued, “[we will be able to define, with all serenity, the management model we want for the irrigation perimeters” and for the Alqueva project in particular, which have a very specific specificity. own. ”
“For my part, I reiterate all the willingness to work with all of us to find a consensual model, which is a model that serves the country and, serving the country, serves the farmers because they are one and the same,” he said.
The minister said that he “does not conceive” a model of management of irrigation blocks “for the future” of the Alqueva enterprise “or any other” that “does not go through the involvement and the active participation of the farmers”.
“If it’s more public, if it’s more private, if it’s a ‘mix’, we’re open to discussing it,” he said.
According to Luís Capoulas Santos, in relation to the Alqueva, the last years “have shown that, contrary to all those who predicted the failure of this project, we are witnessing precisely the opposite.”