PORTUGAL – The Portuguese government has extended a crucial lifeline allowing certain organic producers to temporarily incorporate non-organic feed into their livestock operations while still maintaining the coveted “organic” label for their products.

This is a move to support organic farmers grappling with the impact of extreme weather conditions, 

This extension, announced recently by the government, builds upon a system initially introduced in October 2023, according to reports from the esteemed news agency LUSA.

Under this arrangement, farmers operating in designated areas can seek authorization to utilize non-organic ingredients as feed for their livestock without forfeiting the organic classification of their resulting animal products. The window for submitting this authorization application spans until April 30, 2024.

Explaining the rationale behind this decision, the Directorate-General for Agriculture and Rural Development (DGADR) highlighted the importance of ensuring a continuous supply of organic foods from domestic producers, especially in the face of adverse climatic conditions.

The DGADR emphasized that such derogations are permissible under specific circumstances outlined by the European Union (EU), of which Portugal is an esteemed member state. This regulatory flexibility aims to address extreme weather events, such as drought, which can significantly impact the availability of organic feed sources.

In particular, the shortage of certain organic feeds due to ongoing drought conditions has underscored the need for proactive measures to support farmers within the organic market segment. 

To this end, interested farmers are encouraged to submit their applications through the official DGADR website, providing comprehensive details regarding their farm operations and the specific materials for which authorization is sought, whether it be fresh, dried, or ensiled forage.

Crucially, the extension of this derogation means that animals designated for producing organic foods will not be subjected to additional conversion periods to regain organic status once the authorization period concludes. 

This continuity in organic production helps maintain consumer confidence in the integrity of organic labeling while mitigating disruptions to the supply chain.

The initial note published by DGADR in October 2023 marked the genesis of this authorization framework, responding proactively to the challenges posed by severe drought conditions.

Now, with the extension of this system, Portugal reaffirms its commitment to supporting its organic farming community through targeted interventions designed to navigate the complexities of a changing climate and ensure the resilience of its agricultural sector.

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