Main Portuguese Products
Portugal produces many kinds of products even though it is a small country. Most farms are small or medium sized. They are owned and run by families for the most part. Crops and livestock represent much of what Portugal produces. Forestry, wine and cork are also major industries. Out of 9.2 million hectares, there are 2,755,000 of lush land and crops and 530,000 pasture land. There is 3,640,000 hectares of forests and 2,270,000 unknown.
Compared to much of Europe, Portugal’s farms yield a poor amount of produce. They do not invest money in their farms because they have poor farming equipment and very little fertilizer. Small family farms are also less efficient than larger farms owned by companies.
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Farming and Dairy
Even though Portugal has a relatively small number of acres for farming, they have a wide variety of crops. They have table grapes and vineyards for making wine. Portugal grows many kinds of fruits, including citrus, pineapples, figs and cherries. Olives and mushrooms are also produced in Portugal. Grains and dairy are also grown in large amounts. And finally, the country is famous for the chestnuts grown.
The meats and dairy coming from Portugal are well known for the quality. Due to the strict rules in Europe, Portugal’s beef is of a very high quality and considered to be safer than many other countries’ beef. Local pork and truffles are often served together. The cured pork meats of Portugal are popular for the export market. Cheese, another Portuguese claim to fame, includes the popular Castelo Branco cheese, Santarém cheese, and Serra da Estrela cheese.
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Portuguese wine is a top-shelf product in Portugal. The micro-climates, rich soil, and advanced technology for growing and preparing wine grapes are reasons for the high quality of their wine. The Port Wine, Vinhos Verdes and Alentejo wines are famous. They must comply with strict guidelines to be allowed to use those names. Table wines are made all over Portugal, both for local consumption and export. These do not have any strict rules like those of the expensive wines.
The latest explosive trend in Portugal is organic farming. Between 1993 and 2005, the number of organic farms soared. What was once only 73 organic farms boomed to over 1500 farms in only twelve years. Currently, over two thousand square kilometers of farmland is organically managed. This change is pushed more by higher market prices and subsidies offered by the EU, but many of the practices were already practiced in traditional farming methods. The demand still outstrips the supply, though. This seems to be changing as Portuguese population becomes more aware of the ecological and health damage from conventional farming methods.