Minister Planas affirms that it is “the largest public investment in sustainable irrigation in recent decades”
The Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Luis Planas, and the president of the public company Seiasa, Francisco Rodríguez Mulero, have signed two agreements this Friday to carry out the modernization works of irrigation systems to which 332 million euros will be allocated for the works , the first with funding from the Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan.
In total, up to 500 million euros will be mobilized, including private financing. The minister stressed that the new irrigation systems improve efficiency in the use of water, reduce energy costs and favor the diversification of crops and greater competitiveness of agriculture.
Planas has stated that it is “the largest public investment in sustainable irrigation in recent decades” and that it will represent a “very important advance” not only in environmental sustainability, resource efficiency and modernization, but also in improving the productivity and profitability of the agricultural sector.
In the first phase of the implementation of investments to improve the efficiency and sustainability of irrigation, included in the Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan (PRTR) of the Spanish economy, 45 actions are contemplated with a public investment of 260 million euros. With private contributions, it will total 325 million euros.
The second collaboration agreement is to carry out works contemplated in the planning of the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAPA) of irrigation declared of general interest, with a public expenditure of 72 million euros that will mobilize a total investment of work executed of 175 millions of euros. This program includes 14 actions to modernize 29,000 hectares of arable land.
Specifically, the plan for the improvement and efficiency of the sustainability of irrigation by the recovery mechanism will have a second phase from 2022 with a public investment of 303 million euros and 48 new actions. The total of this plan adds 563 million public funds, which with 20 percent private collaboration will mean an injection of 704 million euros and will involve the modernization of more than 100,000 hectares of irrigation.
The projects included have been selected at the proposal of the autonomous communities, according to the requirements of environmental sustainability, energy efficiency, and implementation of new technologies required by the European Union for the application of recovery funds. Being financed with these, the works must be completed in 2026.
Spain has the largest irrigated area in Europe, 3.8 million hectares, and this mode of cultivation has been, according to Planas, a key tool for the competitiveness of the agricultural sector due to its ability to generate value.
“Whoever wants to dedicate himself to the land, has to work the water,” the minister assured, and specified that 23 percent of the cultivated area in Spain is irrigated, but 65 percent of production is generated there. agricultural end.
Currently, the most efficient irrigations account for about 77 percent of the irrigated area, with more than 2.9 million hectares, of which almost 2.1 million hectares correspond to the localized irrigation system and close to 885,000 hectares to the group consisting of spraying and automotive. Another 888,094 hectares are still irrigated by gravity.
In this sense, the minister has reiterated the Government’s commitment to modernizing irrigation and has assured that “sustainable irrigation together with digitization and generational change are the three pillars on which the agricultural activity model is going to be sustained. in the near future”.