African swine fever in the Nordic region – what happens now?

The first case of African swine fever in the Nordic region has occurred in Swedish Fagersta. How does this affect the Nordic managing of the wild boars?

The NKJ report “Vildsvin i de nordiska länderna” from 2022 aims to map and manage the Nordic needs and prerequisites for controlling the wild boar population in the region. But with African swine fever active in the region, the perspective may change.

Petter Kjellander was the author of the report, and he is a professor at the ecology department at Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences in Sweden. Here he gives a new perspective of Nordic wild boar policy.

Recommendations to strengthen the Nordic bioeconomy

Expanded Nordic cooperation is the key to creating a more resilient bioeconomy, especially in the wake of polycrises. NKJ and SNS can now present a policy brief with recommendations to strengthen and develop the Nordic bioeconomy.

 

The basis for the recommendations are desktop studies of Nordic initiatives on crises management and resilience, and multiple dialogues with experts from the Nordic bioeconomy.

Addressing the challenges of one crisis, let alone multiple crises affecting the region simultaneously, requires coordinated efforts. Many different perspectives must be taken into account and how the different countries’ bioeconomies work must be clear.

The potential for more joint Nordic efforts to strengthen the resilience of the bioeconomy looks promising. The countries have similar social structures and topographies, there are already companies operating throughout the region, similar political ambitions in, for example, climate measures and existing networks and initiatives create good conditions for Nordic cooperation. It has also been shown that there is a strong interest in jointly meeting the challenges associated with crisis preparedness and crisis management in the bioeconomy.

This policy report presents five policy recommendations. Nordic decision-makers and stakeholders can enable effective progress towards a more resilient Nordic bioeconomy by:

1 Developing a joint roadmap for a resilient Nordic bioeconomy

2 Strengthening the resilience in the Nordic -bioeconomy value chains by identifying and addressing critical dependencies

3 Enabling an efficient, accessible, and safe -sharing of high-quality bioeconomy data across the Nordic region

4 Supporting knowledge sharing between Nordic crises communication functions

5 Integrating the recommendations for a more -resilient Nordic bioeconomy in the development of the Nordic Cooperation Program for 2025-2030

 

Read more details about the recommendations, and download the policy brief here

A common Nordic vision for sustainable food systems is possible

A webinar on the Nordic food systems was held June 14th. The aim of the webinar was to explore the commonalities, differences and peculiarities of the Nordic national food systems and try to understand if there is just one common Nordic approach to food sustainability or many.

 

The main outcome of the Nordic webinar was that all the Nordic countries are different in terms of food production, retail system, policies and consumers behaviour. Before talking about a Nordic sustainable food system, the different national aspects should be taken into consideration. Still, a Nordic vision might be possible, provided that policy makers promote more cooperation and a holistic approach to sustainable food systems.

Two main projects, from Iceland a project on blue economy and from Sweden a project on Sami food in elderly houses, were presented.

Most of the speakers at the webinar agreed on that a new Nordic model on sustainable food systems is possible, provided it is integrated with local approaches, as every country has its own peculiarities. The main conclusions from the discussions are:

  • Food self sufficiency is an important issue for the Nordic countries: Norway is only 40% self sufficient, Finland is self sufficient in terms of meat and diary production, but not for fruits and vegetables and oatley/rye.
  • Meat consumption is an important aspect of the Nordic diet. In Norway it has doubled in recent years, while fish consumption is slightly decreasing. The same could be said for Finland, where meat and dairy consumption are still very high, despite some local policies aiming to decrease at least meat consumption.
  • In Finland dietary recommendations are not met by the Finnish population. Finns are interested in trying new foods but long term adoption of new food does not always follow.
  • Faroe Islands have small scale farming and fishing, and are importing the majority of food they consume. Depsite all this, food and farming traditions are strong and passed on from generation to generation.
  • In Sweden a specific project “Healthy ageing for Indigenous communities in India and Sweden with focus on nutricous and culturally adequate food provision” funded by the Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare (2022-2025) is helping Sami elderly people to eat their traditional food in elderly houses.
  • In Iceland a project run by University of Iceland on barriers and challenges to circular blue economy, found out that there is a strong need for holistic mapping of the waste streamsand a strong competition for natural resources. More collaborations and an enhanced institutional capacity would benefit the sector.
  • Denmark is promoting food innovations through the Food Bio cluster Denmark which supports companies i promoting and accelerating food innovations.

The webinar was arranged by the NKJ co-funded researcher network “The role of Nordic research in transition to sustainable agro-marine food systems”. The network aims to start an interdisciplinary, multi-stakeholder dialogue among the eight partner universities and other relevant institutions on the role of Nordic research in transition to sustainable agro-marine food systems.

Board decision: new call for networking activities in the autumn

Researchers in agriculture and food can expect opportunities for funding in the near future. NKJ plans to open a call for network activities before the end of the year.
 
 
At NKJs board meeting at the end of May this year, it was decided to open a call for networking activities for Nordic agricultural and food researchers during autumn. The date and focus area will be decided on later. Follow NKJ on our social channels (Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter) or subscribe to our newsletter to be sure not to miss out on anything.
 
The board has gotten a new member, Jessica Ekström, Sweden, who was presented at the meeting. She works at FORMAS, the Swedish research institute, as a research secretary. The forms for a student representative on the board was also discussed. It was decided that the relevant student organization in the chairing country nominates the student representative. The ambition is even gender distribution over time.
 
The secretariat presented Sofie Andersson, newly employed, and substitute for Elsa Ramberg while she is on parental leave. Sofie has a backgroud in cultural geography and environmental science, and she has previous experience from Nordic Innovation.
 
Two new networks had their applications for funding granted at the board meeting; CoverCropsNord and TerraNordica. Read more about them here!
 
If you are interested in the NKJ year 2022, find the annual report here!

Two new NKJ funded networks in agroecology and soil health

Two new networks are granted funding after the latest NKJ call in soil health and agroecology connected to living labs and calls in Horizon Europe.

 

The deadline for application was April 1st. The NKJ board decided, at its latest meeting in May, to fund two new networks: CoverCropsNordic and TerraNordica.

The focus areas of the call was soil health and agroecology connected to living labs and calls in Horizon Europe. The aim of the call was to promote Nordic collaboration between researchers from agricultural and food sectors by networking activities. Transdisciplinary networks between researchers and stakeholders was especially encouraged.

CoverCropsNordic will work to improve the understanding of the effects of cover crops on greenhouse gas balances, particularly under humid and temperate conditions of Northern Europe. The participants see a great interest among farmers for adopting cover crops in the crop rotation, but also an urgent need to exchange experiences about how to avoid the risk of draw-backs by using appropriate species and management. The network will focus on soil health and agroecology by using cover cropping.

NKJ is looking forward to the outcomes of this much needed initiative!

TerraNordica aims to provide guidelines on how agroecological management systems can be analysed on their effects on soil health by identifying a set of robust indicators. The network will contribute to structure and support a network of living labs and research infrastructures that will accelerate the transition towards agroecology throughout Europe.

“The significance of the work proposed in TerraNordica lies in improved understanding of the interaction between agroecological management systems and soil health” wrote the applicants in their application.

NKJ will follow the work with great interest!

NKJ will report on the activities in these new researcher networks in our newsletter and in our social medias:

 
Find all NKJ funded researcher networks here!

New nutritional recommendations for both health and the environment

The new nutrion recommendations are not only guidelines for better health for humans, but also link health with the health of the planet.

 

In order for our food to be useful and sustainable for the future on Earth, we must eat less meat, and more fish and vegetables. That is the conclusion formulated in the new Nordic nutritional recommendations 2023 which are just launched. The recommendations are based on the best available science on food consumption, health, and the environment and shows that human health and sustainability goes hand in hand.

The nutrition recommendations are the result of four years of hard work by a project group within the Nordic Council of Ministers and lots of researchers and others engaged. The report provides a shared evidence-based foundation which assists the countries in developing dietary guidelines, but also receives international attention.

The new recommendations have changed on a number of points compared to the previous edition.

See what changes have been made to the nutritional recommendations

Find the Nordic nutritional recommendations 2023 here

LUKE presents their digital testbeds to Nordic testbed Network

Nordic Testbed Network will arrange an afternoon event for the network participants June 8th. The hosts at LUKE will present their relevant work.

 

The event will take place in LUKE, Helsinki, Finland, where the participants will be presented to work going on with smart farming, digital twins in agriculture, digital monitoring and assessment in animal welfare and more. Presenters will be Matti PastellAntti SuokannasKim KaustellJere Kaivosoja and other colleagues at Luke.

The Nordic Testbed Network has a broad network, so there will also be presentations of projects like RAS, Digital Forests, Vertical Farming and DIMA. Of course there will be time for informal meetings, conversations and contacts. There will be dinner served for those participating physically, but some will be joining by Zoom.

– We want to provide the best arena for knowledge exchange between Nordic actors in digital innovation, to facilitate development that contributes to a sustainable society, says the organizer Tatiana Proisy, Analysys Mason.

 

The Nordic Testbed Network: Digitalisation plays a vital role in the rapid development of the Nordic and Baltic bioeconomy. Access to cutting edge platforms for development, so-called testbeds, where new digital knowledge and technology can be developed is fundamental. To meet this need, and to support the digital transformation of the Nordic and Baltic bioeconomy, the Nordic Testbed Network was initiated.

Discuss sustainable food systems in different Nordic contexts

What do sustainable agro-marine food systems mean in different Nordic contexts? This is the focus for an upcoming webinar (June 14th) arranged by an NKJ co-funded network.

 

Formally, the Nordic region consists of Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Iceland and the self-governed Danish areas of Greenland, the Faeroe Islands and the Finnish self-governed isles of Åland. Altogether it is an area of 3,5 million km² with a total of 25 million inhabitants. If on one hand, the Nordic countries share many characteristics and give place to a common food culture, on the other there are also enormous differences among them.

Aim of this webinar is to explore the commonalities, differences and peculiarities of the Nordic national food systems and try to understand if there is just one common Nordic approach to food sustainability or many.

You are warmly welcome to join our webinar and join the discussion about the Nordic food systems!

The time for the webinar is 14th of June 2023, 12:00 – 14:00 CET (UTC +2).

Please register by June 12th!


Agenda for the webinar (CET time)

12:00 Welcoming words Silvia Gaiani, Senior Researcher at Helsinki University Ruralia Institute and Coordinator of the NKJ funded Nordic Research Network

12:05 Introduction by the moderator Maja Kruuse, ICE Innovation Festival in Kirkenes, Norway

12:15 The Norwegian food system with a special view to food consumption and sustainability Gunnar Vittersø, Senior Researcher, SIFO – National Institute for Consumer Research, OSLOMET, Norway

12:30 The Finnish food system: A selection of specificities and issues Xavier Irz, Professor, Department of Economics and Management – Agricultural Economics – University of Helsinki, Finland 

12:45 Sustainable food provision from an indigenous perspective – Sami perspectives from Sweden Ildiko Aztalos Morell, Associate Professor in Rural Development, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Sweden

13:00 Local knowledge and skill sharing – a key pillar of sustainability and resilience to the Faroese food system Sunniva Gudmundsdóttir Mortensen, anthropologist, food activist and social entrepreneur, Faroe Islands

13:15 Barriers to a circular blue bioeconomy in Iceland Nína M. Saviolidis, Post-doc researcher, University of Iceland, Iceland

13:30 Importance of innovation and collaboration in the food system in Denmark Lars Visbech Sørensen, CEO, Food Bio cluster Denmark, Denmark

13:45-14:00 Q&A

 

Contact:
Silvia Gaiani
silvia.gaiani@helsinki.fi

Iida Alasentie
iida.alasentie@helsinki.fi

Finland on the right path to the future reindeer husbandry

Reindeer husbandry in Finland is on the right track. Conservation of biodiversity, different interests in land use and sustainable, future reindeer pasturing – everything is included in the plan that a working group has put together. This was presented and discussed at a webinar arranged by NKJ on Tuesday 9 May.
Svensk text längre ner

 

Sirviö Tapani, chairman of the working group, was the first speaker at the webinar. He spoke about the goal of the working group to bring together authorities, reindeer husbandry practitioners, researchers and nature conservation organizations to take part in a dialogue. It turned out to be a fruitful dialogue, that resulted in eight goals for the future.

The eight goals were presented on the webinar by Sirpa Rasmus, the reporting secretary in the working group.

1 The first point deals with the reindeer grazing species-specific management and utilization plans for the reindeer pastures that have been developed, that are being tested in pilot trials in 2023. The working group suggests listening to the experiences from the trials, and proceeding with the plans as they are formulated today. A reduction in the number of reindeer by 7% is considered by the working group to be sufficient to prevent grazing pressure from becoming too heavy.

2 The working group believe it is important to develop a producer organization in order to strengthen the bargaining power of reindeer husbandry on the market, and thereby increase the possibilities for good profitability.

3 Climate change affects reindeer husbandry. The legislation that provides compensation for losses in connection with extreme weather needs to be developed, as well as the industry’s own tools to reduce the effects of weather- and environmental conditions, as well as animal diseases.

4 Today’s price and operational support should be changed to a support that is not linked to production volume, to become an income transfer for the producer. This needs to be further investigated and a new system introduced by way of a transition period.

5 Reindeer herding is a living part of the cultural heritage of the local communities in the reindeer herding area, and is strongly linked to the language and other culture of the indigenous people. The proposal is to investigate through research whether the current support system fulfills its purpose.

6 A foundation could function as a tool to simultaneously secure the reindeer’s habitat and maintain and strengthen a diverse mountain nature. The two interests often coincide.

7 Land use issues become more and more tangible and create conflicts. Therefore, active work must be done to create dialogue between the parties that are affected.

8 Monitoring and observation systems are important for reindeer husbandry to be able to adapt to new conditions.

Another issue touched upon by the working group is predator management. This was also an issue that was raised in the discussion by the participants of the webinar. The working group thinks it is necessary to find models for how to avoid predator damage to reindeer, while following the plans for the management of the predator tribes that exist. Reindeer management, land use, but also the examination of the damage and the estimation of the predator strains can be developed in this respect.

Sirpa Rasmus presentation

 

Svensk text
Rennäringen i Finland är på rätt väg. Bevarande av den biologiska mångfalden, olika intressen av markanvändning och ett hållbart, framtida renbete – allt ryms i planen som en arbetsgrupp har lagt upp. Detta framkom vid ett webbinarium arrangerat av NKJ tisdagen 9 maj.

 

Sirviö Tapani, ordförande för arbetsgruppen, inledde webbinariet genom att berätta om hur arbetsgruppen har velat sammanföra myndigheter, rennäring, forskare och naturvårdsorganisationer i en dialog. Det blev en fruktbar dialog, som också ledde arbetsgruppen fram till åtta mål för framtiden.

De åtta målen presenterades på webbinariet av Sirpa Rasmus, rapporteringssekreterare i arbetsgruppen.

1 Den första punkten handlar om de renbeteslagsspecifika skötsel- och nyttjandeplaner för renbetesmarkerna som tagits fram, och också testas i pilotförsök under 2023. Arbetsgruppen föreslår att man lyssnar till erfarenheterna från försöken, och går vidare med planerna så som de är formulerade idag. En minskning av antalet renar med 7% anser arbetsgruppen räcker för att betestrycket inte ska bli för stort.

2 Arbetsgruppen tycker att det är viktigt att utveckla en producentorganisation för att stärka rennäringens förhandlingskraft på marknaden, och därmed öka möjligheterna för en god lönsamhet.

3 Klimatförändringarna påverkar rennäringen. Lagstiftningen som ger ersättning vid förluster i samband med extremt väder behöver utvecklas, liksom näringen egna verktyg för att minska effekterna av väder- och naturförhållanden och djursjukdomar.

4 Dagens pris- och insatsstöd bör förändras till ett stöd som inte är kopplat till produktionen, för att bli en inkomst för producenten. Detta behöver utredas och ett nytt system införas via en övergångsperiod.

5 Renskötseln är en levande del av lokalsamfundens kulturarv i renskötselområdet, och är starkt kopplad till ursprungsfolkets språk och övriga kultur. Förslaget är att genom forskning utreda om det nuvarande stödsystemet fyller sitt syfte.

6 En stiftelse skulle kunna fungera som ett verktyg för att samtidigt trygga renarnas livsrum och upprätthålla och stärka en mångsidig fjällnatur. De båda intressena sammanfaller ofta.

7 Markanvändningsfrågor blir mer och mer påtagliga och skapar konflikter. Därför måste ett aktivt arbete göras för att skapa dialog mellan de parter som påverkas.

8 Övervaknings- och observationssystem är viktiga för att rennäringen ska kunna anpassa sig till nya förhållanden.

En annan fråga som berörts av arbetsgruppen är rovdjurshanteringen. Det var också en fråga som deltagarna på webbinariet tog upp till diskussion. Arbetsgruppen tycker att det är nödvändigt att hitta modeller för hur rovdjursskador på ren ska undvikas, samtidigt som man följer de planer för hanteringen av rovdjursstammarna som finns. Renskötseln, markanvändningen, men också granskningen av skadorna och uppskattningen av rovdjursstammarna kan utvecklas i det här avseendet.

Webinar: Towards a profitable, sustainable and culturally significant reindeer husbandry in Finland

Join the webinar “Towards a profitable, sustainable and culturally significant reindeer husbandry in Finland” 9th of May! The webinar is based on a recently published report with the same name.
 
 
At the end of 2021, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry in Finland appointed a multi-stakeholder working group: “Future of reindeer husbandry”. The group’s task was to prepare operating models for the management and use of reindeer pastures for each co-ops, as well as to assess other development needs for reindeer husbandry in Finland. The working group presented its proposals and recommendations in the final report (scroll to the bottom of the page to download) on February 28, 2023.
The webinar, that will be arranged on Teams, gives you the opportunity to hear a short introduction to the report by the working group’s chairman Tapani Sirviö (Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry) and one of the research representatives, Sirpa Rasmus (University of Lapland). The report proposes some measures and recommendations that will also be presented. The participants will then be involved in a discussion based on the report.
 
Agenda 
1. Background for the work and working method
2. Measures and recommendations proposed by the working group
3. Discussion
 
Register via mail to nkj@slu.se. Write that you want to register for the “Towards a profitable, sustainable and culturally significant reindeer husbandry in Finland” webinar, your name and email.
Deadline: The link to the Teams meeting will be sent out to registered participants May 8th, so NKJ needs your registration at the latest May 8th at 12.00 AM!