In recommendations to Portugal to assist in the preparation of the national strategic plan required by the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) 2021-2027, Brussels stresses that "the preservation of biodiversity remains a challenge in Portugal, where the state of conservation of agricultural 'habitats' is "largely assessed as inadequate", partly due to the "abandonment of traditional agricultural systems".
According to the Brussels assessment, "the area of organic farming is well below the EU average" and agricultural systems that have a positive environmental impact are slowly developing, and funding for good agricultural practices that respect biodiversity should be privileged.
"Water availability and soil quality are two other significant challenges for the agricultural sector," the recommendations read, with Portugal among the Countries of the European Union (EU) where water catchment levels are particularly high.
The document highlights that "without sufficient water, some crops may collapse by 2050, with a large decrease in yield." The Commission considers that Portuguese agriculture needs to improve the climate transition in accordance with the objectives of the Prado to Prato strategy and biodiversity.
"The future CAP strategic plan should play an important role through enhanced environmental ambition", including "preservation of areas of extensive agriculture", and the use of agricultural models that help maintain or increase biodiversity should be encouraged. When developing its strategic plan, Portugal should consider the diversity and specificity of different areas in the country, namely the outermost regions.
The recommendations are part of the dialogue between the Commission and the Member States to help them implement the CAP from 2023 and to ensure that their strategic plans contribute ambitiously to the European Ecological Pact. The political agreement on the new CAP is expected to be concluded by spring 2021, during the Portuguese EU Presidency, with Member States having a deadline of 1 January 2022 to present their strategic plans. The European Commission expects by 1 January 2023 to approve the plans, when the new CAP will be fully implemented