Exploring collaboration opportunities between Portugal and Macau in the agri-food sector, but also promoting the innovation and export potential of Portuguese agriculture and cutting-edge solutions such as Agrivoltaic (AgroPV). This was the motto behind the visit by the Minister of Territorial Cohesion, Ana Abrunhosa and the Chinese Ambassador, Zhao Bentang, to Monte do Pasto last week, which also included the presence of the Secretary of State for Regional Development, Isabel Ferreira.
For António Trindade, President and CEO of CESL Asia, which owns Monte do Pasto, “the positive impact of the technical and technological innovation that we have been extensively introducing in our explorations is proof, not only of our effort in favor of the development countryside of the interior Alentejo, but also on how it is possible to design lasting bridges of cooperation and continue to deepen economic and commercial relations between Portugal, Macau, China and the PLP’s. CESL Asia, a reference economic group in Macau, with vast experience in the development of platform solutions, is committed to developing the Macau-Portugal Platform, promoting the export of sustainable agri-food products to attractive Asian markets, as well as innovations developed in Portugal, such as AgroPV, which can ensure a future of new possibilities and income for farmers around the world, while reinforcing food security”.
During the visit Clara Moura Guedes, CEO of Monte do Pasto, showed how the company implements “opportunities for creating value through the export of sustainable and premium quality agri-food products, and agricultural and technological innovation”. This was also the moment to reaffirm the importance of accelerating the implementation of the beef and lamb export protocol to China and to other markets in the region – Vietnam, Singapore, Thailand, Japan – which would allow companies in the sector to advance, significantly, in exploiting the potential of the economic zone of the Greater Bay Area, one of the largest in the world, and of the Asian, emerging or high-value economies. Also in this context, there was a joint reflection on the importance of developing infrastructure, both in the area of energy and AgroPV, to reduce production costs and increase income in agricultural activity and, on the importance of ensuring export logistics for products agri-food products for Asian markets, more agile and competitive, similar to what already happens in other European countries.
The visit route included the Innovation and Animal Welfare Park and the explanation of the Ethical Meat project, Integrated System of Sustainable Meat Production, which integrates an AgroPV unit, and a lunch at Pousada do Alvito, prepared by the students of the Professional School from Alvito, where the True Born meat, certified from “Prado to Prato” and produced with the best sustainability practices, was introduced.
The session held at Monte do Pasto was attended by Ana Abrunhosa, Minister of Territorial Cohesion, Zhao Bentang, Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China, Isabel Ferreira, Secretary of State for Regional Development, Xia Xiaoling, Economic Counselor of the People’s Republic of China , José Efigénio, Mayor of Alvito, Bernardo Mendia, Secretary General of CCPC, and the President of CCDR-Alentejo, António Ceia da Silva.
About Monte do Pasto Group – Living Natural
With more than 40 years of experience in the agricultural sector, the Monte do Pasto Group leads cattle breeding in Portugal. Located in Baixo Alentejo, it comprises one of the largest continuous agricultural areas in the country, benefiting from the great potential for (i) integrated activity of calf rearing, (ii) rearing of steers and (iii) production of animal feed on a large scale and of competitive way. With about 65 employees, its team includes specialists in all areas of cattle and sheep breeding, namely in health-veterinary medicine and environmental sustainability. It obtained important certifications in the scope of Quality Management – NP ISO 9001:2015, Animal Welfare – “Beter Leven 3 Stars” and “Animal Welfare – Welfair™ Certification” and Sustainability – “Low Carbon Livestock” and “Production Mode Integrated”, by ensuring the best ethical and sustainable agricultural management practices. In 2021, it created the True Born brand, cuts of meat designed for extraordinary grilling experiences, distributed in Portugal, Macau and Hong Kong, positioning itself in a high-quality segment that responds to emerging world consumption trends and commitment to good animal welfare and the social and environmental impact. Recently, together with the universities of Évora and Minho, it launched and leads the “Ethical Meat – Integrated System of Sustainable Meat Production”, an innovation project (IDT) – co-financed by Compete 2020 – with an investment of over 700 thousand euros, focused on the development and implementation of innovative methodologies and processes at all stages of the meat production chain, to ensure a higher quality and more sustainable product. The project also foresees the use of state-of-the-art technologies, the dual use of soils integrating renewable energy solutions (AgroPV) and the first Animal Welfare Park in Europe.
The Monte do Pasto Group in numbers: 30,000 head of cattle/year, 12,000 head of cattle at the same time, 11 farms, 4200 hectares, 85 steer rearing parks, 4 sheep rearing parks and a turnover of around 31 million euros, more than 95% in exports.