Important legal notice
AGRILIFE- Agriculture and life sciences in the economy
SUSTAG - Sustainable Agriculture
STUDY
The Availability of Organically Reared Livestock in the EU

AIMS
To carry out an economic analysis to assess the availability of organically reared livestock in the EU-25 and to evaluate the impact of ‘almost fully organic’ production systems on the economic sustainability of the organic livestock sector in selected EU Member States.

DESCRIPTION

The first regulation on organic farming was drawn up in 1991, laying down the rules for farmers wishing to claim official recognition of their organic status. Since 1991, this Regulation has been amended on numerous occasions, in particular in August 1999, which extended its scope to cover organic livestock production.

However, at the time of implementing these harmonised rules for organic livestock production, the current development of the sector was such that there was not a sufficient range of organically reared livestock species (including both livestock species for production and livestock species for breeding) and breeds available on the market. Therefore a number of transitional derogations were provided to the general principle that organic livestock production should operate only with organic animals/birds, and hence allow organic livestock production to take place in ‘partially organic’ systems, i.e. permitting non-organic livestock to be brought into an organic production unit in certain circumstances, specifically when a herd or flock is renewed, restocked or reconstituted.

These derogations have been extended and slightly amended on a number of occasions in recent years. However, it is acknowledged that this derogation cannot be extended indefinitely without justification.

The study:

  • provides an overview of the current state of the organically reared livestock sector in the EU-25’;
  • evaluates the impact of ‘almost fully organic’ production systems on the economic sustainability of the organic livestock sector in selected EU Member States. An ‘almost fully organic’ production system is defined as those livestock farming systems which do take advantage of the derogations foreseen mainly for reproduction (i.e. breeding) purposes;
  • examines the needs for the current harmonised rules for organically reared livestock to be adapted.

A case study approach is used to evaluate the economic sustainability of organic production systems with respect to pig, egg and broiler production in a number of Member States.

RESULTS
Report The availability of Organically Reared Livestock in the European Union

LINKS
DG Agriculture webpage on Organic Farming

CONTACT
Sergio Gomez y Paloma
Joint Research Centre