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Cherry Farmers Fear the Worst

Members of the Portuguese Communist Party (PCP) recently visited the parish of Jardim da Serra to discuss with villagers and farmers the catastrophic consequences that this year’s extreme weather conditions have had on the local cherry harvest. Cherry cultivation is one of the most important products in the parish of Jardim da Serra and, according to producer’s, losses will reach 80% to 90% of expected production.

Listening to their concerns, PCP deputy Ricardo Lume added that “in Jardim da Serra cherry production is a valuable source of income to many families.  And this year, with an almost nil harvest many of the local family’s livelihoods will suffer, as will the local and island economy.”

The party also stressed that the vast majority of cherry farmers are unable to obtain crop failure insurance, especially as both cherry and sour cherry producers in Madeira are, for the most part, affected by weaknesses normal associated with micro and small farmers. Furthermore, producers are afraid that they will not receive any financial support to help them overcome this year’s crop failure, provide some form of income, or allow them to invest in the future.

The PCP considers it essential that the Regional Government carries out a series of surveys to understand the extent of the crop failure and its impact on individual farmer’s, so that they can provide additional financial support to both sustain the farmers and ensure the islands cherry production for the coming years.

Ricardo Lume, has said that he will request a parliamentary hearing with the regional secretary of Agriculture to ascertain what measures the Regional Government intends to take to support the islands cherry production and listen to the farmers representatives to ascertain the real impact of the failure of the cherry and sour cherry harvest across the Region.

Samantha Gannon

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