Agriculture is a part of the Portuguese essence. Most traditions and large parts of the culture are based on agriculture and primary sector processes. Agriculture, agro-food and beverages are traditionally the backbone of the Portuguese economy.
The sector has in recent years reinvented itself and developed new production techniques as well as new products. This sector is today one of the most innovative in the Portuguese economy and has been internationally awarded multiple times for its forward-thinking and modern adaptation to global markets.
Agriculture in Portugal is based on small to medium-sized family-owned dispersed units.
Small scale animal production in Portugal is widely related to the local breeds. Concerning this issue, Portugal has a total of 22 registered local animal breeds, most of them ancient breeds and a genetic heritage of great importance.
Portugal’s key crops are fruit and vegetables, predominantly because of its ideal climate for those crops. The Portuguese production covers the domestic consumption and suffices also for exporting large quantities. The numbers of exports in this sector are consistently growing and reached, in 2016, a volume of 6,3 thousand million euros, representing 11.3 % of the Portuguese economy.
In 2016, farmers housed on average 1,7 million cattle, 2,7 million pigs, 2,3 million sheep and goats and 0,8 million equines.
Total meat production was 902 thousand tonnes in 2020. In relation to 2019, beef meat (98 thousand ton) rose 6,2%, while pig (380 thousand ton), sheep (14,6 thousand ton) and goat meat (1,1 thousand ton) showed reductions of 2,1%, 12,7% and 7,9%, respectively, showing the biggest decrease in consumption for small ruminars since 1986. The CoVid-19 pandemic was the main factor for these results. Poultry meat showed an increase of 1,1% with a total of 393 thousands tonnes, whereas other meats (rabbit, quail, game,...) was 15,2 thousands tonnes.
Total chicken egg production reached 146 thousand ton, of which 126 thousand ton were eggs for consumption.
Total milk production level showeded a slight increase (0,9%) in relation to 2019, with sheep and goat milks decreasing by 0,8% and 1,1%, respectively, and cow's ́milk (1,935 million liters), increased 1,1%.
The city of Porto is located in the heart of the Portuguese continental dairy basin. Within a 20 minutes drive from the centre of Porto city we can find several dairy, and pork farms, as well as related industries (Lactogal, the biggest Portuguese dairy factory is located in Vila do Conde, 25 km from Porto).