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‘Farmers Demand Their ‘Right to Water’

About three dozen people representing farming communities gathered this morning (15th October) outside the Presidents Official Residence at  Quinta Vigia, Funchal, demanding their ‘right to water.’  The aim of this peaceful demonstration was to deliver a document which claims that farmers rights to water are not being respected and that this is having a severe impact on the islands small farmers and their families.

This CDU initiative includes representatives from the Irrigation Commissions from the municipalities of Santa Cruz, Machico, Câmara de Lobos and from the high areas of the municipality of Funchal. The group gathered to protest against the perceived lack of action by the Regional Government in defending the rights of local farmers.  CDU representative, Edgar Silva stated that “the lack of irrigation water is one of the main factors that aggravate the economic and social situation in the region. If life is already difficult for so many small agricultural producers. Not only are agricultural workers experiencing problems of growing poverty and social exclusion, but now consider that life is becoming even more difficult with falling crop production and low incomes which further affect the social and economic stability of the island.”

Concluding, he said “it is scandalous that, after so many promises of improvements and modernisation in respect of agriculture and the millions of euros promised to support agriculture and farmers, there are still problems as elementary as the lack of irrigation water to be resolved. The irrigation problem was not understood by the Regional Government as it should have been. Thus, the CDU will continue to demand compensatory support for farmers whose crops have suffered due to lack of water.  By taking this action and demanding monetary compensation, I feel we will prevent the situation from worsening.

Samantha Gannon

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