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Portuguese irrigators denounce "unbearable" energy costs and ask for public support to install renewables

Fenareg asked the Secretary of State, Rui Martinho, to open a new tender in the RDP2020 to support the installation of photovoltaic panels in collective irrigation systems and reduce the costs of water distribution for farmers.


Fenareg meeting with the Portuguese Secretary of State for Agriculture, Rui Martinho.

The National Federation of Irrigators of Portugal met on 9 September with the Secretary of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, Rui Martinho, and exposed the concerns of irrigation associations with the exponential increase in the price of electric energy, which is having great impact on the cost of distributing water to agriculture.

The energy surcharge (Decree-Law nº 33/2022, which establishes a temporary mechanism to adjust energy production costs within the scope of the Iberian electricity market) also led to an increase of 40% to 50% in the cost of electricity for farmers and irrigation associations with indexed contracts, and the consequent increase in the cost of water, in a year already marked by drought and the rise in the price of all agricultural production factors.

FENAREG asked Secretary of State Rui Martinho to open a new tender in the Rural Development Plan 2020 to support the installation of photovoltaic panels in collective irrigation systems, aiming to increase energy self-sufficiency from renewable sources and reduce the costs of distributing water to farmers.

 The Federation has been demanding measures from the Government that promote the energy sustainability of irrigation, namely:
  • The increase in support for green electricity to 40% to 50% of the invoice value, and the eligibility of Irrigation Associations for this support;

  • The implementation of seasonal electricity contracts, suited to the irrigation activity, with the possibility of varying the contracted power throughout the year;

  • And support for the creation of energy communities in collective irrigation systems, based on renewable energies.
Irrigators' associations, which manage 40% of the irrigated area in Portugal, also expressed great concern with the intention to apply a Benefit Tax in Hydro-Agricultural Developments. This fee, levied on future works, but also with retroactive effects, will bring an increase in the expenses of collective irrigation and consequently of the farmers, an unbearable situation in the critical period we are going through.

“Irrigated agriculture is a strategic sector for the food sovereignty of our country and cannot be left behind at a time when the Government announces a package of measures worth 1.4 billion euros to help companies face the increase in costs. energy costs”, says José Nuncio, president of FENAREG. “The fees and surcharges that weigh on irrigators must be alleviated and the much-needed public support implemented for the modernization of collective irrigation, aiming at an efficient use of water and energy and the decarbonization of agriculture”, he concludes.


Fenareg is a national, non-profit public utility association, founded in 2005, which groups together entities dedicated to the management of water for irrigation, both surface and underground, with the aim of uniting efforts and wills in the defense of their legitimate interests. interests and promoting sustainable development and the competitiveness of irrigation. It currently has 30 members representing more than 27,000 irrigating farmers, which means more than 95% of organized national irrigation.

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