The NPA and NFU welcome the recent decision taken by the European Commission to adopt an implementing regulation that extends the derogations in place for organic pig and poultry until 31st December 2018.
This will provide much needed certainty for pig and poultry members, whilst the industry continues to work on practical resolutions to address the availability shortages of organic feed and pullets.
Due to tight supplies of organic proteins, farmers are currently allowed to feed their pig and poultry up to 5% non-organic protein. Where organically-reared pullets are not available, poultry farmers are also allowed to buy in pullets of up to 18 weeks old, provided they have been managed under the organic feed and veterinary standard.
Without Commission intervention, these derogations would revert back to the original regulation which would require a 100% organic diet. Pig and poultry farmers had concerns that the welfare of their livestock would be in jeopardy if this was to happen.
The NFU and NPA, along with members, met with Defra on two organic poultry farms, as well as with MEPs and the Head of Organics in the EU Commission over the summer and autumn of this year to raise member concerns if an extension was not granted.
Following a written vote, 27 Member States were in favour to extend the permissions for a further 12 months, meaning they now are due to expire on 31st December 2018.
The Commission have stated that pending political endorsement of the new EU organic rules by the Council and EU Parliament and, in order to provide legal certainty to the pig and poultry sector, it was necessary to take steps to adopt an implementing regulation extending the referred derogation.
NFU Adviser Christine McDowell said:
“We are pleased to see the Commission have understood the immediate concerns of the organic pig and poultry industry. However there is still more work to do. The organic sector will continue to work with the Commission to look at ways which allows for the right nutritional quality to be fed to birds, whilst working towards feeding 100% organic protein. This will take time and will mean the Commission needs to be flexible in their approach. We will continue to work with DEFRA, the EU Commission, members and the wider organic industry to give long term certainty for members.”“The endorsement of the new organic rules came this month at a Special Agricultural Committee meeting. These new rules will be implemented in January 2021, and do give improvements on previous requirements. We are pleased to see the new organic regulation giving the 5% non-organic protein in feed allowance, with a reasonable timeframe for reviewing after 5 years after January 2021.”