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PS-M – Regional Products Must Be Served in Schools

The parliamentary group of the Socialist-Madeira Party (PS-M), argues that the Regional Government must create a clause that guarantees the mandatory consumption of regional products in schools, as well as increasing the funding to educational establishments for this purpose.

In a press conference in Madalena do Mar, PS-M Deputy Victor Freitas, stated that a way to support farmers in the region, ensure regular distribution of their products as well as encourage and enable  young people to consume quality products, was to create a precedent where regional products must be used in schools.

He went on to say that the legislation is there, but the Madeiran Executive is not using it. He referred specifically to the provision of meals for 2nd and 3rd cycles and secondary pupils.  He said that there should be a way of integrating regional products in the supply tenders to schools. “What we have seen is that the Regional Government has given schools autonomy in this matter, but has not created rules to capture the use of regional products in the provision of meals for young people.

Expanding on his theme, he went on to say that “If the Regional Government wants to help regional producers, it should redefine the tenders and integrate local farmers and producers into the equation, something it is currently not doing, in fact its quite the opposite, as Madeiran farmers are being pushed out, not brought in.  When the criteria is that meals per student cannot exceed €1.45 local producers are excluded, as they cannot compete which wholesale companies.

Therefore, the socialists want the Executive to include a clause in all new tenders that insist on the use of local crops. Likewise, they want the same rules to be applied to hospital and nursing home meals.

Victor Freitas also took the opportunity to warn about the fact that sugar cane producers have already delivered their produce to sugar mills and, yet in August, there are many who have not been paid.

The deputy also remembered that last year the Regional Government financially supported farmers throughout the region, but noted that this has not been done this year. The same applies to local  embroiderers who were told last year that they would receive a payment in the region of €150, and yet no payments have been made.

According to Victor Freitas, at a time of great difficulties, “it is important that producers and embroiderers have access to financial supplements to help support their work.”

Samantha Gannon

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