Organic pig and poultry farmers have warned that they could struggle to source diets compliant with EU rules if a derogation, set to end this year, is not extended.
At present, up to 5% of diets fed to poultry and pigs are allowed to compose of non-organic material, reflective of tight supplies of organic protein and difficulty in sourcing certain nutritional components of diets without synthesis.
A second derogation allows non-organic pullets to be converted to organic when in lay if no organic pullets are available.
If the EU commission does not intervene, the 2 allowances will end on 31 December this, something that farm leaders have warned would spell disaster for the market.
NFU deputy president Minette Batters said: “It is vital for the organic poultry sector that an extension to these derogations is granted as soon as possible. Producers are planning now for 2018 and currently have no certainty whether these derogations will be in place.
“Organic producers would like nothing more than to use 100% organic feed but they don’t want to do this at the expense of their animals’ health and welfare, which is why an extension is so important.
“The organic poultry sector continues to grow and it would be extremely disappointing to see these concerns go unaddressed.”
NPA chief executive Zoe Davies added: “It is vital for the organic pig sector that these derogations are extended to ensure that producers can continue to control the welfare and diet of their animals.
“Without these derogations, there are serious concerns that the pig and poultry sectors would not be able to source the right nutrition to give their animals the best possible diet.”