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The Government mobilises more than 38 million euros in Castilla-La Mancha for the modernisation of irrigation until 2026

The Government, through the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAPA), will mobilize a total of 38,394,002.24 euros in Castilla-La Mancha for the modernization of irrigation until 2026, within the framework of the Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan (PRTR). In particular, the Irrigation Modernization Plan provides Castilla-La Mancha with an investment of 30,715,201.79 euros from the Recovery Plan, in addition to private contributions, to mobilize a total of more than 38 million euros for works to improve the efficiency and sustainability of irrigation.

The Recovery Plan includes a total of 563 million euros of public investment at national level for the modernization of irrigation, in addition to more than 140 million euros from private contributions, to mobilize a total investment of 703.750.000 euros. These figures are a clear indication of the Government’s investment effort in this area, with an injection of more than 2.1 billion euros until 2026, which will allow modernizing up to 200,000 hectares of irrigated land.

The Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Luis Planas, and the president of the State Agricultural Infrastructure Society (Seiasa), Francisco Rodríguez Mulero, have signed this Thursday the collaboration agreement for the implementation of the second phase of the Irrigation Modernization Plan to promote the improvement of efficiency and sustainability in irrigation.

This programme, included in the Recovery Plan, has a public investment of 303 million euros in this second phase, which will finance a total of 40 actions in 15 autonomous communities and will mobilise a total of 378 million euros thanks to private contributions. In signing the agreement, Planas has assured that sustainable irrigation is key to face the challenges of climate change in agriculture and to be able to maintain in the future the model of food production that responds to the demand of the population.

The component of the Recovery Plan managed by MAPA has among its priorities the modernization of irrigation, a chapter that allocates 53.5% of its total budget. Of the 563 million euros from European funds between 2021 and 2022, the first phase of the Irrigation Modernization Plan already included 260 million euros to undertake 42 actions -the corresponding agreement was signed on 25 June 2021-. All the projects included in this first phase have already signed the agreements of action between Seiasa and the corresponding communities of irrigators, which co-finance 20% of the actions.

Commitment to sustainable irrigation with more than 2.100 million until 2026

Minister Planas stressed that this package is part of the Government’s firm and determined commitment to sustainable irrigation, necessary to maintain a sufficient food production system in the future and in a scenario of reduced availability of water resources.

“We have the challenge of food sufficiency throughout the planet, and we have to respond in a scenario that requires us to face the urgent without leaving behind the necessary”said and referred to the climate change situation with extreme events such as droughts or fires caused by high temperatures. For this reason, it has ensured that “it is necessary to make better use of water”, and a “more modern and efficient” resource management system that is sustainable.

And to meet this challenge, the government is committed to improving the efficiency of irrigation. In addition to the investments financed with European funds from the Recovery Plan, the actions in irrigation modernization are complemented by the ministry’s own budgets.

Thus, in the next five years an investment of more than 2,100 million euros will be promoted, with an average of 420 million per year, when in the first 21 years of this century the investment was 150 million euros annually. These actions will allow to modernize 200,000 hectares of irrigation, which will benefit some 20,000 farmers.

“The modernization of irrigation, its digital transformation, with a more efficient, intelligent and sustainable use, will contribute to the prosperity of the agricultural sector and is one of the big stakes of the present and the future,” said the minister.

Environmental sustainability, efficiency and new technologies

The projects included in the agreement signed this Thursday have been selected at the proposal of the autonomous communities, according to the requirements of environmental sustainability, energy efficiency, implementation of new technologies required by the European Union for the implementation of recovery funds. As they are financed by these funds, the works must be completed by 2026, so in the selection of projects, those with a higher degree of maturity have been considered in order to make their implementation easier.

Among other things, priority is given to issues such as reduced consumption of water resources, the replacement of surface and groundwater by regenerated or salinized waters, the incorporation of renewable energies that entail savings, or the installation of remote control meters and precision instruments in the irrigation system.

The selection of projects has not been easy, as the autonomous communities came to submit more than 300 proposals for possible actions. The Government has already announced that it will increase the allocation of European funds in sustainable irrigation, to which 410 million euros of the 800 million in which the budget of the Strategic Project for Economic Recovery and Transformation has been increased (PERTE) Agri-food sector.

Planas reiterated that irrigation is a hallmark of the Spanish agri-food production system, which allows agricultural production to reach a record figure of 56,400 million euros in 2021, or that exports maintain a constant growth line with a value that in the year moving to April will exceed 63,000 million euros.

Spain has the largest irrigated area in Europe, 3.8 million hectares, 54% of which have a localized system. Although irrigation accounts for only 22.6% of the agricultural area cultivated in Spain, it accounts for 65% of final agricultural production. Irrigation multiplies agricultural productivity by six, increases farmers’ incomes by up to four times and generates three times more employment per unit of land than rain-fed land.




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