Portugal allows some organic producers to use non-organic feed

The Portuguese government has announced an extension to a system under which farmers in certain areas can apply to use non-organic feeds, while retaining the “organic” label for their animal products.

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For farmers in Portugal, a prolonged drought has caused shortages of feed ingredients, particularly for organic producers.

However, the government has announced an extension to a system introduced in October 2023, according to news agency LUSA

Under the system, farmers can apply for authorization to use non-organic ingredients as feed for their livestock, without having to suspend the organic designation of the animal products.

Applications for this authorization can be made until April 30.

EU derogation for extreme conditions

According to Portugal Resident, the agriculture ministry (DGADR) explained the main advantage of this latest derogation extension. Such deviations are permitted under certain extreme conditions under regulations of the European Union (EU), of which Portugal is a member state.

DGADR states that the derogation means animals designated as producing organic foods will not be required to go through a new conversion period to organic status after the authorization expires. For the Portuguese market, it will also ensure an uninterrupted supply of organic foods from domestic producers.

Lack of availability of certain organic feeds due to drought has already been verified, so farmers involved in this market are invited to apply for authorization. Applications need to be made through the DGADR website, providing details of the farm and its location. Applicants must specify the material for which authorization is sought, for example fresh, dried or ensiled forage.

In October 2023, DGADR published the first note on authorization of the use of non-organic feed materials for animals in organic production systems due to severe drought conditions.

Under that original process, authorization was valid until December 31, 2023, and it applied to specified municipalities in 11 regions of the country.

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