The decision to extend two derogations for organic pig and poultry for a further 12 months will provide much-needed certainty for the industry, the NFU and NPA said today after successful calls to the European Commission to extend the permissions.
Due to tight supplies of organic proteins, the extension allows farmers to continue feeding their pig and poultry up to 5% non-organic proteins.
The derogation also allows for farmers to buy in pullets of up to 18 weeks old, where organically-reared pullets are not available, provided they have been managed under the organic feed and veterinary standard.
NFU Deputy President Minette Batters said: “It is incredibly important for the organic pig and poultry industry that these derogations were extended, to provide certainty to producers.
“The NFU, along with industry, called for these derogations to be extended and it is fantastic news that the European Commission has listened to our concerns.
“A failure to extend would not only have meant severe consequences to the organic sector, such as being unable to source the right nutrition, but could have also resulted in major welfare concerns.
“While the extension does provide short-term certainty for producers, the long-term future of the industry is still up in the air.
“The NFU will continue to work with Defra, the European Commission and the UK organic industry to further understand the long-term future, particularly regarding incoming organic EU regulation which does not allow producers to buy in pullets up to 18 weeks old.”
NPA chief executive Zoe Davies said: “This is a great result for organic pig producers and one that will ensure organic production can continue for the time being.
“However, we will need to seek a more comprehensive and longer-term agreement shortly to avoid this situation reoccurring in 12 months’ time.”