"For the growing difficulties that affect the agricultural sector, the CNA considers it essential to strengthen the Ministry of Agriculture, in order to defend the incomes of farmers and family farming and ensure citizens' access to quality food," it said in a statement.

The confederation said that increases in the cost of production factors, the "abuses" of large retailers, the ageing of the sector and the desertification of rural areas, to which drought is now added, are some of the problems that urgently need to be addressed.

Added to this are the "major implications" of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) on Portuguese agriculture, requiring a "specifically clear and strong national presence".

For the CNA, this is only possible with a strengthened Ministry of Agriculture, which also covers forestry and rural development, with "skills, means and human resources" to support the work of family farms.

"A Ministry of Agriculture with political and institutional weight, with technical structures and services to support the development of the sector, close to farmers and their organisations," he stressed, adding that the policies of previous governments and the European Union have worsened the sector's problems.

In this sense, he advocated the adoption of better agricultural policies, "that defend agricultural production and national forest, as a strategic sector and a guarantee of sovereignty.