Norway resumes grain stockpiling amid global uncertainties

05 July 20242 min reading

In response to the growing challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, ongoing conflicts in Europe, and the escalating impacts of climate change, the Norwegian government has decided to reinstate its grain stockpiling program. This strategic move aims to enhance national preparedness and ensure food security for the country’s 5.6 million citizens.

The agreement, signed by Agriculture and Food Minister Geir Pollestad, Finance Minister Trygve Slagsvold Vedum, and four private companies, will see the storage of 30,000 tons of grain over the next two years. This initiative marks the first step in a broader plan to build up a significant grain reserve by 2029. The ultimate goal is to accumulate 82,500 tons of grain, enough to sustain Norway’s population for three months in the event of a crisis.

According to the Associated Press, the government highlighted the importance of this measure, emphasizing the need for an "extra level of security" in the face of potential disruptions in international trade or national production failures. “The building up of a contingency stock of food grains is about being prepared for the unthinkable,” the Ministry of Agriculture and Food stated. Finance Minister Vedum further elaborated on the significance of the initiative, describing it as a critical component of the government’s efforts to strengthen national preparedness. The stockpiling will be managed by private companies that will store the grain in existing facilities throughout the country. These companies are also encouraged to invest in new storage facilities and will be responsible for making the grain available to the state when needed.

This move comes after Norway ceased its grain stockpiling activities in 2003, deeming them unnecessary at the time. However, the geopolitical landscape has since changed dramatically. The 2022 invasion of Ukraine by Russia prompted Norway to reassess its emergency preparedness. A commission established to evaluate the nation's readiness recommended the reintroduction of grain stockpiling, highlighting vulnerabilities exposed by the conflict.

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