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Brussels, 19 November 2008

National Rural Network Programme of Portugal 2007-2013

Country profile for Portugal

Size and population: 91,909 km² and 10.5 million inhabitants, respectively, and a population density of 114 inhabitants/ km².

GDP per capita in Portugal is 74.6% of the EU-27 average (year 2007).

Rural areas cover 85 % of the territory and 32% of the population in Mainland Portugal; 99.6% of the territory and 93% of the population in the Autonomous Region of Azores; and 81.4% of the territory and 34.4% of the population in the Autonomous Region of Madeira.

Globally, about 40 % of the total surface area of Portugal is utilised as agricultural land (3.68 million ha), 86.6% of which are classified as Less-favoured area, whilst 75% of the Portuguese territory are covered by agro-forestry.

Since accession, Portugal has witnessed a considerable investment effort, especially targeted on the modernisation of farm holdings and agri-food businesses, as well as on infrastructure development and improvement. Nowadays, improving the competitiveness of the agricultural and forestry sectors is the fundamental pillar of the Portuguese rural development strategy.

Portugal shows an overall trend towards population ageing, slowly increasing qualification levels, demographic concentration and expansion of the service sector.

The Portuguese rural world has evolved asymmetrically, with significant progress in economic, environmental and social terms but losses in demographic and economic vitality, on one hand, and considerable handicaps in terms of business competitiveness and territorial sustainability and cohesion, on the other hand.

Chosen strategy corresponding to the profile

Portugal implements the rural development policy through three rural development programmes (Mainland, Azores and Madeira) and one horizontal programme for the National Rural Network.

The National Rural Network is an instrument designed to create the conditions to boost rural development, basically by acting through the decrease in context costs and by monitoring policy adjustment to the evolving situation of rural areas. It shall play an active role in supporting the action of agents involved in rural development, by favouring and fostering the matching of information, experience and knowledge supply and demand, using adequate means according to the objectives to be achieved, the contents and the target audience.

The action plan of the National Rural Network of Portugal referred to in article 68 (2) b) of Regulation (EC) 1698/2005 will include the following:

Capitalising on experience and knowledge, by

Creating a set of priorities, according to thematic areas;

Promoting the identification, analysis and transfer of good practices and knowledge to meet the agents’ needs and setting up and managing a specific database for that purpose;

Promoting the monitoring of the integration of good practices transferred in the performance of rural development agents;

Promoting training actions for the new Local Action Groups.

Facilitating cooperation, by

  • Identifying the factors that have hindered cooperation practices, namely in the framework of the Leader Initiative, and to establish the set of needs to increase and improve cooperation.
  • Providing training for experts and target audiences interested in cooperation and technical assistance for drafting cooperation strategies;
  • Drawing up a Good Practice Handbook for Cooperation;
  • Promoting cooperation ideas and facilitating meetings between people interested in cooperation and disseminate good practices, namely via seminars with the participation of the Local Action Groups.

Monitoring the rural world and the implementation of rural development policies, by

  • Creating and feeding an indicator matrix contributing to identify the impact of policies on the rural world and to facilitate the evaluation process of rural development programmes;
  • Creating a thematic group to improve methodologies regarding the common monitoring and evaluation framework, associated with the typification and quality of the indicators and the establishment of results;
  • Setting up a database, producing studies, reports and thematic and territorial analyses about the evolution of the context situation and the impact of policies on the rural world;
  • Producing the necessary information to assess the National Strategy Plan for rural development.

Facilitating information access, by

  • Establishing a set of priorities in terms of information and communication channels;
  • Creating and maintaining the National Rural Network website and other means of communication that may be deemed necessary for the proper operation of the Network;
  • Creating and disseminating information contents.

The share of funding for the whole period is shown in the table below:

Financial table for the whole programming period (EUR)

Type of expenditure for the National Rural Network
Total public expenditure
EAFRD contribution (50%)

(a) for running the structure of the National Rural Network

(b) for implementing the action plan of the National Rural Network, including its evaluation


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