Agribusiness

 

In collaboration with Consulai

WHY INVEST IN AGRICULTURE IN PORTUGAL?

Portugal is well-known for the quality of its agriculture products. Olive oil, wine, fruits, vegetables and many other products are highly valued in international markets.

Part of the secret relates to the mild Mediterranean climate, with warm and sunny summers, and a fresh breeze from the Atlantic coast. This, together with the availability of water resources, explain why Portugal has recently been (re)discovered by international agricultural investors.

Notwithstanding, the biggest advantage of agriculture in Portugal is the calendar. Effectively, in Portugal farmers have the capacity to produce earlier than in Northern and Central Europe, allowing get higher prices for their products during the pre- season, with high quality products.

An increasing number of foreign investors are developing new projects in the irrigated areas of Centre, Alentejo and Algarve regions, in order to extend the harvests in their countries with crops in Portugal.

SOIL AND IRRIGATION REGIONS

Despite the small size of the country, the topographic conditions are significantly different in the North, in the Centre or in the South of Portugal. In the North, the slopes are steep, the landscape is dominated by forest and most of the properties are very small (less than 1 ha!).

In the Centre and in the South, the slopes are usually slight, but the topography is diverse. In the west (Oeste) region and the Tejo valley (Ribatejo), respectively North and Northeast of Lisbon, there are thousands of hectares of plains with good soils that have been irrigated for many years. In the Southeast of Portugal, in the Inner Alentejo region, there is another plain.

The soils present in Portugal are quite diversified and provide a great variety of options, with different potentials for agricultural use.

The major irrigation schemes in Portugal (more than 5,000 ha of land) are located in the Alentejo region, the Tejo Valley and the Centre of Portugal. Alqueva, in Alentejo, is the biggest irrigation scheme in Portugal.

 

Public Irrigation Areas

Region Existing Area (Ha) Potential Area (Ha) Total (Ha)
Alentejo 181 912 56 855 238 766
Algarve 13 046 7 146 20 193
Centre 39 099 5 182 44 281
Lisbon and Tagus Valley 31 714 5 658 37 372
North 10 511 4 179 14 690
Total 276 283 79 019 355 302

Source: Consulai (based on DGADR)

MAJOR IRRIGATION CROPS

Olive is the most representative Portuguese agricultural product in terms of planted area, followed by grains and wine. However, in terms of exports value, wine is the dominant product. Over the last five years several products recorded a relevant exports growth, namely Berries and Other Fruits as well as Almonds, which value more than duplicated. Despite not being amongst the most important agriculture products in value of exports, almonds represented €55 million in exports in 2021, increasing by 8 times its value since 2016.

Most important Agriculture Products in Area

Source: INE, Portuguese land use by main agriculture activities in 2021

Most important Agriculture Products in Value of Exports​​​​​

Source: Eurostat

The majority of irrigation crops are located in the Centre and Alentejo regions, with the exception of the North region were the famous Douro vineyards are located. We have been observing an increase in the plantations of almond trees both in Idanha and Alqueva zones. We also highlight the Algarve region, in the south of the country, where historically oranges have been the predominant crop but other tropical fruits such as mango and avocado have been gaining terrain quickly, in the more recent years.

 

Major Crops per Irrigation Region

REGION CROPS
NORTH  
Douro Vineyards
Trás-os Montes Almonds, apples, chestnuts, stone fruits and olive oil
CENTRE  
Cova da Beira Apples, cherries, other fruits
Idanha Nuts, namely almonds and walnuts, pistachio
Baixo Mondego Corn, horticultures (mainly fresh produce), rice
WEST  
Ribatejo (Tejo Valley) Corn, rice, tomato, vegetables (fresh and industry)
West Region Fruits (apple, pear), horticultures (fresh) and vineyards
ALENTEJO  
Alqueva Almonds, apples, beans, colza, horticulture, olive oil, pears, stone fruits
Alentejo West Coast Berries, horticulture
Sado Valley Rice
ALGARVE  
Algarve Oranges, tropical fruits

Source: Consulai

INVESTMENT MARKET

In the Portuguese agribusiness market, it is more frequent to have lease or managing contracts over land sites rather than sale transactions, due to the low availability of properties for sale as the land is still predominately held by Portuguese families, with complex corporate structures and many stakeholders. Lease contracts are typically for a 25 year period.

However, the number and size of transactions has increased considerably over the last years. Circa 20,000ha of irrigated land for agribusiness development were transacted in 2021. However, in the first six months of 2022, transaction deals have already achieved 25,000 ha. The agribusiness market is effectively boiling and the purchase of land portfolios by international investors has been boosting annual figures. North American investment through Iberian structures, has been the most representative.

Almond and olive are the preferred crops. The Alqueva and Idanha irrigation regions include over 90% of the land area transacted. In Algarve, despite the propitious climate for tropical fruits, due to the small average area transacted (< c. 5 ha), the region is still not very representative in the investment market.

Prices have increased in excess of 10% over the last year. The value per hectare for greenfield properties with irrigation infrastructures in Alqueva, can currently achieve 30,000/ ha (for permanent crops.

The gross prime yield for a greenfield leased property is 4.5%.

PUBLIC SUPPORT TO INVESTMENT

 

INVESTIMENT IN AGRICULTURE

AND RELATED EQUIPMENT

INVESTMENT IN PROCESSING

AND MARKETING OF

AGRICULTURE PRODUCTS

BENEFICIARIES Individuals and corporations Individuals and corporations
ACCESS CONDITIONS

Total investment amount over €25,000

Evidence of economic and financial viability, measured by IRR, NPV and Pay-Back

Total investment amount over €200,000

Present technical, economic and financial coherence

TYPE OF SUPPORT Non-reimbursable grants, depending on the total amount of investment Non-reimbursable and reimbursable grants, depending on the total amount of investment and the accomplishment of the project’s objectives
SUPPORT LEVEL

Max. 50% of the eligible investment in less developed regions or areas with natural or other specific constraints; or

Max. 40% of the eligible investment in other regions

Min 30% of the eligible investment with mark-ups up to 75%

In general, 50% non-reimbursable and 50% reimbursable interest free

AVAILABLE AMOUNTS Each call for applications defines investment amounts and admission conditions Each call for applications defines investment amounts and admission conditions

Source: Consulai