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Datenbank der Projekte zur ländlichen Entwicklung

NATURASIN - a Traditional Milk Product from Donkeys


An innovative project in Portugal using EAFRD resources to add value to the milk of a local donkey breed in danger of extinction. The future of the donkeys is now more secure and the supply of a high quality, specialist product has increased.



The ‘Asinina de Miranda’ is an indigenous breed of donkey in north-east Portugal that was traditionally used as a draught animal in agriculture, but which is now almost extinct. The main problem is that the donkeys have little economic value and tend only to be kept by older people. However, the Portuguese Society, Naturasin, is now actively working to save the breed by promoting and adding value to the donkey’s milk which can be used for human consumption or the production of pharmaceuticals.


This innovative project aims to: 1) encourage production and processing of the local donkey milk into a 100% natural milk powder; 2) promote greater appreciation of the ‘Asinina de Miranda’ by farmers and encourage a more sustainable breeding programme for the donkeys; 3) increase the revenue of local farmers, and; 4) promote traditional farming systems and agro-biodiversity.

Main activities

The main activities of the project (under measure 123) have been to: a) establish permanent meadows for grazing the donkeys; b) construction of associated fences, buildings and a yard; c) construction of a milking parlour, and; d) purchase of milk-to-powder processing equipment. A completely new method for dehydrating the milk (which maintains all natural characteristics of milk) has been explored and tested in co-operation with the local Agricultural High School.

Results & Benefits

The project has helped to: i) bring a ‘forgotten’ traditional product to the market again, whilst also applying modern, up-to-date techniques to obtain a quality assured natural product; ii) conserve the threatened ‘Asinina de Miranda’ breed by diversifying and enhancing the economic value of the donkeys; iii) expand the market and increase the export opportunity for milk powder from the donkeys, and; iv) increase the market share for donkey milk in the cosmetics industry.

Lessons learnt

Initial investigation for project development was carried out with the farmer’s own funds thereby helping to ensure project feasibility and the quality of results.

Project location and other information

Santarém, Lisboa e Vale do Tejo


Lisboa e Vale do Tejo

RDP Territory


Total project cost (€)

205 824

EAFRD contribution (€)

49 773

National contribution (€)

16 591

Private contribution (€)

139 460

Project website

Contact name

Miguel Carvalho

Languages for contact


Original Language version

At a glance



Final beneficiary type

Individual farmers

Budget range

€100 000 - €500 000

Start date:


End Date:


Theme / Measure:

• Competitiveness of Agriculture & Forestry
• Restructuring, developing physical potential, and promoting innovation
• 123. Adding value to agricultural and forestry products


Agricultural product quality, Indigenous species, Innovation, Species conservation, Young farmers

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