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The cost of fruits and vegetables soars up to 70%. “Many companies may go bankrupt in the near future,” says Gonzalo Santos Andrade.

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Portugal Fresh is an association that promotes the export of fruits and vegetables from Portugal.

Portugal Fresh is an association that promotes the export of fruits and vegetables from Portugal.

After two years of deprivation due to the pandemic, which closed the doors of many markets and made it impossible to find international fairs, the agri-food sector was preparing for a rethink when another crisis knocked on the door. At this time, producers are grappling with the effects of an extreme drought that could leave the country without pears and apples, and with rising cost of inputs, putting many in “tremendous hardship” and putting many at risk of bankruptcy.

So says Gonzalo Santos Andrade, president of Portugal Fresh, the Association for the Promotion of Fruits, Vegetables and Flowers in Portugal. Created in 2010 by several companies in the sector with the aim of “selling” the Portuguese brand at international fairs and events and increasing exports, Portugal Fresh today has more than 80 associated companies representing more than 4,500 national producers, in addition to bringing together also 17 sub-sectoral producer associations.

In an interview with the Observer, the association’s leader urges the government to increase investment in water efficiency and points the finger at industry and distribution where there is a lack of “solidarity” towards producers.

We are at the stage of discussing the State Budget for 2023. Does the proposal submitted by the Government meet the interests of the agri-food sector?
The agri-food sector has been one of the most reliable economic engines in the European Union. Two and a half years have passed since the start of the pandemic, we have had a severe drought, a war that we want to end quickly, but which is dragging on, and we have a difficult context. But we must not forget that this sector has never stopped. Significant steps have been taken with the budget originally presented, and we appreciate every cent that goes into this sector.

Source: Observador

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