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Portugal's interior - too much land and not enough farmers

alentejoThe Secretary of State for Forestry said today that 52% of the country is at risk of desertification - but he has several ideas to counter this, among them is a Observatory Against Desertification.
"The Observatory to Combat Desertification will allow us to have good information on developments from the physical, economic and social point of view in the most disadvantaged territories," explained Miguel Freitas.
The politician was in Idanha-a-Nova, Castelo Branco, to preside over a ceremony that saw the local council join the International Network of Bio-regions.
Freitas added that other projects are under development, such as the Mediterranean Diet and Food Landscapes and in organic farming associated with
Desertification is the process by which fertile land becomes desert, typically as a result of drought, deforestation, or inappropriate agriculture, is due to population drift, increasing average temperatures and poor rainfall. 
"These are three ideas that we are developing and that we want to see adopted in the rural network. Councils are essential for this process, because this is managed in a local basis,” said the Secretary of State.
Freitas said, "We want to make Portugal a more developed country that is a whole and not just parts," adding that development is only possible if we can respect the diversity of the country’s territories.
Fretias is nominally in charge of forests but had nothing to say about the progress, or otherwise, of the huge forest clearance programme that the government expects local council to be getting on with.
“We have made a huge effort to get the message across, we all have to do what is within our reach. If we do, 2018 certainly will be a better year than last year,” adding that an assessment will be made at the end of March, but “everyone has to do what is needed: the state and local authorities.”
"The State, through the Institute of Nature Conservation and Forests, has an ongoing plan to clean public forests and public forest areas, and municipalities have to act when owners do not," stressed Freitas, adding that there are 6,400 villages that are risk from fire."
The Secretary of State for Forestry admitted that there will be areas of the country where the scrub will not be cleared in time, because, "it is not possible to clean the whole country." Councils will still be fined if they do not complete the work on time, even though the government admits it is impossible to do so.
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