Francisco Pinto/ Lusa

Farming rules relaxed as drought persists

According to an order published today, the minimum feed to be used in integrated production*  has been temporarily suspended, due to the severe or extreme drought that affects most of Portuguese territory. 

“Considering the current drought situation in mainland Portugal, the application of the annual minimum percentage of feed (in dry matter) to be used in integrated production is temporarily suspended and, consequently, the minimum percentage of feed (in dry matter) that, on an annual basis, would have to come from the production unit itself,” read a joint order issued by the General Directorates for Food and Veterinary matters (DGAV) and Agriculture and Rural Development (DGADR).

Under integrated production rules, producers are obliged to a minimum percentage of food to be used under this system, which is 55% in the first year, 65% in the second and 75% in the third year and following years.

On 3 March, the government announced that 95.5% of the territory was in severe or extreme drought, which allowed for the adoption of support measures.

According to the PDSI index – ‘Palmer Drought Severity Index’, the drought worsened in February leaving 29.3% of the territory in severe drought and 66.2% in extreme drought.

The entire territory meantime is in what is termed meteorological drought, with 95.5% in severe or extreme drought.

This “irregularity of agro-meteorological conditions” in Portugal has contributed to the crisis in agriculture, but what perhaps is less known is that right now “more than 260 countries are in a situation of severe or extreme drought”.

*Lusa explains that “integrated production consists of an agricultural system with rational management of resources, which favours natural regulation, instead of production factors, with the aim of sustainable agriculture”.