Preparedness for food safety, securing areas for food production becomes very relevant. We must stop wasting agricultural land – soil protection must be strengthened.
External comments: This is a debate article. The analysis and positions are the author’s own.
This is my simple message to all municipalities, developers and farm owners in this country; take care of the topsoil! The reasons are many, but currently the need for food production is the most important.
War and conflict between countries can cause problems with food production and delivery. We are now experiencing this with war and destruction close to ourselves. There was war between Russia and Ukraine, in the midst of what is often called the granary of Europe.
EU “Mini-Putin” victory in Hungary
Where war machines and tanks now roll, wheat will soon be sown. Mines are bombed and mined in Europe and perhaps the world’s best food soil. No one knows when this area can be worked on again.
this week’s treats Storting reports on the UN’s sustainability goals. Goal no.2 is about food security and the fight against hunger. Storting has demonstrated important steps to ensure economic, social and environmental sustainability. How we manage our resources today is critical to the opportunities future generations will have.
This background shows how important it is to protect the areas where we can produce food. Winter has shown us the uncertain world we live in. Winter also shows us how high we should prioritize preparedness. Preparedness for food safety, securing areas for food production becomes very relevant. We must stop wasting agricultural land – soil protection must be strengthened.
Nuclear weapons ban
Some time ago The Minister of Local Government and District Affairs and I are sending letters to all municipalities, county municipalities, and state administrators to remind us that we must take land protection seriously. There, we emphasized that municipalities have a great responsibility to secure agricultural areas and ensure that land protection is a key consideration in spatial planning.
We also emphasize that municipalities should thoroughly review their city plans and consider taking up some construction areas on farmland.
Conservation of cultivated land is of national interest. To achieve stronger food preparedness and security, we must safeguard agricultural production resources across the country. Norway has little agricultural land due to its topography and climate, and the grain area per capita is lower than the European average.
Best farming area are often located where development pressure is greatest, and in many cases there are differing interests associated with areas of interest.
Politics on the wild road
Norway’s food security is currently good, but in the current world situation, it is important to facilitate the production of as much food as possible in Norway. When only three percent of our land area can be used to grow food, it is important to protect the food land that we have.
Access to land, food and water is getting tighter, according to the UN Climate Panel.
The world is facing major challenges in managing and allocating these resources. At the very least, world food production may have to increase by 50 percent by 2050. The UN Climate Panel has stated that all countries should use the resources at their disposal to produce food.
The Hurdal platform states that a goal should be set for a 50 percent self-sufficiency rate. We are still far from that goal today, and we will have to use farmland across the country to achieve it. However, it is very important to maintain the area for producing grains, vegetables and fruits, because this is where the level of self-sufficiency is lowest.
Can thank himself
Operating farm area per resident in Norway is reduced from approx. 2.3 to 1.8 decares in the period 2000-2020, mainly due to population growth. Calculations from NIBIO (Norwegian Institute for Bioeconomics) show that we need more than one million decares of new agricultural area by 2050 to maintain per capita agricultural area. This can be very demanding, especially if we want to replace the reallocation of the best grain and vegetable areas.
New plantings are important to maintain the amount of land cultivated, and to be able to increase agricultural production, but new plantings cannot be used as an argument to allow reallocation of agricultural land. Areas suitable for new plantings (fertile soils) are also limited resources, especially in the best climatic zones. New plantings in some cases can also damage the natural environment and forest resources.
It can be difficult to achieve this goal. We know that thousands of hectares of agricultural land have been set aside for development purposes in city plans, which will soon be organized and included in statistics as reallocated.
Armed with the power of words
And for transportation purposes alone, in recent years nearly 1,700 hectares of farmland have been reallocated annually, mostly through large state transport projects. Based on this, the government will conduct a critical review of certain development projects to assess whether they are in line with the stated land protection objectives.
Fortunately, we see the record low figure for reallocation of farmland for 2021, but these are preliminary figures, and reallocations can vary slightly from year to year. If they stay standing, it means that we are well below Storting’s adopted ground protection target of 3,000 decares for the first time, and at the lowest level in at least fifty years.
I hope these preliminary figures show that there is now a majority of the population both nationally and locally who believe that we should protect as much food land as possible!
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