Introduction to the challenge addressed
This good practice is related to the socio-economic resilience thematic area of the BovINE project and falls under the topic “Initiatives to improve beef image and to break with the current trend of consumption decline” In Portugal, the 14 autochthonous breeds of beef cattle (95399 cows) represent about 19% of the total number of suckler cows (505547). The beef cattle farms in Portugal operate in extensive mountain systems (north) or in low altitude areas (south). The difficulty in placing its production on the market was a reality in the 1990s, as the market preferred carcasses of other continental breeds and their crosses.
Description of Innovation
In the beginning of the nineties the EU quality schemes with the PDO and IGP labels were created. The majority of the Portuguese beef cattle breeds adhered to this system of certification of their production which, after being approved by the EU, became an important tool that supported the continuity of some small herd breeds. These certified production systems are based on the unique characteristics of the final product, linked to its geographical origin.
Impact on farm performance
The existence of this practice enabled the producers of these breeds to create a product with market acceptance with its own identification, linked to a region and a history/tradition. In the early 1990s, with the appearance of BSE in Portugal, the consumption of beef dropped drastically and became residual. The appearance in the beef market with PDO labels was a novelty that had an excellent consumer acceptance. The development of the consumption of these meats had an opposite path to the consumption trend at the time.
Today, for different reasons, we are witnessing a decline in beef consumption, however meat from Portuguese cattle breeds continues to have a sustained consumption, being the ones that have the best carcass price paid to the producer.
Farmer comment (for Good Practices)
The existence of the PDO label has been an asset for the marketing of carcasses of pure animals of Portuguese cattle breeds, which, with almost thirty years of existence, has contributed to the farmers sustainability and resilience. Today there is a fraction of consumers who are loyal to the brand and maintain regular consumption.
This type of certification is not only used for beef. It also applies to meat from other animal species and other types of products such as cheese, honey, fruit, etc.
Information on European Union Quality Schemes