Call for European Commission to provide certainty to organic pig and poultry producers
Date Published: 15/09/2017
OF&G and others within the industry are urging the European Commission to provide certainty to organic pig and poultry producers by extending rules around organic feed which are set to expire at the end of the year.
Tight supplies of quality organic proteins led the Commission to introduce an exception to organic regulations to allow pig and poultry producers to feed 5% non-organic protein to their livestock.
The Commission also agreed that poultry producers could buy-in pullets at up to 18 weeks old, provided they have been managed under the feed and veterinary part of the organic standard.
However with both of these exceptions coming to an end on 31 December 2017, OF&G is concerned that producers will be once again be left struggling to find quality feed supplies, and that the UK’s organic pig and poultry sectors could suffer.
“The global growth of organic pig and poultry production has seen a tightening of supplies of organic feed,” said Roger Kerr, OF&G chief executive.
“Difficulties in sourcing quality proteins creates problems for producers in being able to give their livestock a balanced diet, which is why the exemption was introduced in the first place.
“UK producers would like nothing more than to use 100% organic feed, but they don’t want to do that at the expense of their animals’ health and welfare, which is why the exemption is so important.”
Mr Kerr said that OF&G is in regular contact with Defra and industry organisations including the British Egg Industry Council to find a way forward, but in the short-term it was vital that producers know they will enter 2018 with secure supplies of quality feed.
“We have been working very closely with Defra to provide detail and guidance and what needs to happen to ensure the integrity of UK organic farming and food is maintained,” Mr Kerr added.
“Defra has arranged to discuss the issue with the Commission in the coming weeks, and we look forward to continuing our dialogue with them.”
The National Farmers Union along with OF&G and other industry bodies are together raising awareness of this issue ahead of the upcoming EU Committee on Organic Production meeting where this issue will be discussed. The meeting is due to take place at the end of September.