EIB and CEB provide EUR 280 million for irrigation in PortugalStaff Writer | April 15, 2018
The European Investment Bank (EIB) and the Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB) will contribute to the financing of the National Irrigation Programme of Portugal.
Europe National Irrigation Programme
The project is aimed at fostering economic development in rural areas and increasing resilience to the effects of climate change, in particular drought.
EIB Vice-President Andrew McDowell, CEB Vice-Governor Rosa María Sánchez-Yebra and Portuguese Minister of Finance Mário Centeno participated in the signing ceremony for the EUR 200 million EIB loan and EUR 80 million CEB loan to finance the project held in Lisbon.
The Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Rural Development, Luís Capoulas Santos, also attended the event.
The loans provided by the EIB (EUR 200 million) and the CEB (EUR 80 million) will finance projects designed to expand and modernise existing irrigation areas and to renovate infrastructure through the construction and rehabilitation of water intakes, pumping stations, collectors and other irrigation equipment.
Portuguese agriculture is expected to benefit significantly from this EIB and CEB co-financed project.
The use of new irrigation technologies will reduce the dependence on rainfall and exposure to climate variability, thereby promoting the development and resilience of rural economies.
Furthermore, the expansion of irrigated areas will enable the increase and diversification of agricultural production, facilitating the production of olives, maize and wine. Off-farm infrastructure will also be updated with modern, automated and smart cropping control systems.
These investments will contribute to water savings, reducing water losses by an estimated 35 million cubic metres.
They will also increase the energy efficiency of water pumping: the new and rehabilitated water infrastructure will mostly consume energy generated internally from water impulsion.
This transformation of the country’s agricultural productivity will foster employment on farms in Portugal and will generate employment in the local agro-food sector, contributing to the reduction of rural migration.
The execution of the different projects, mainly in the Alentejo but also in the Algarve, on the northern and central coast and in the central interior of Portugal, is expected to create employment opportunities for equivalent of 6,600 persons over the implementation phase of the off-farm infrastructure and associated on-farm investment.
On the other hand, the project will generate agri-business related employment of some 6,450 persons equivalent per year during operation. ■