Strengthened preparedness of Swedish food security
On 1 March, Minister for Rural Affairs Anna-Caren Sätherberg met with the Swedish Board of Agriculture, the Swedish Food Agency and representatives of the food industry to identify strengths and possible disruptions to food production chains in view of current serious security developments. Sweden is well-prepared and Sweden’s food supply chain has not been affected. However, the international situation may change quickly and, if so, we will need a full overview of what a potential worsening scenario would mean for Swedish food security.
At the meeting between the food industry, the Swedish Board of Agriculture and the Swedish Food Agency, representatives discussed how the supply of products, costs and developments in production may be affected by the changing international situation. The current situation does not affect food security directly, but it can affect oil and grain prices on the world market indirectly. Since Ukraine is one of the world’s largest grain exporters, food prices in Sweden could rise. Additionally, increased energy prices may affect production costs for food producers and affect prices, but Sweden is not at risk of running out of food.
“Today, we can see no direct effect on Sweden’s food supply chain, but the international situation may change quickly, and we’re following it closely. Sweden needs well-functioning domestic agriculture and food production to ensure food security. However, we are not self-sufficient in food. Sweden depends on trade, and EU cooperation is an important tool to ensure that our supply chains work. That’s why it’s important that we continue to work on an analysis of what a worsening scenario would mean, and that work is ongoing at the Government Offices,” says Minister for Rural Affairs Anna-Caren Sätherberg.
The COVID-19 pandemic has created good crisis preparedness
For many years, the Swedish Food Agency has worked to strengthen Sweden’s food and drinking water security. A network infrastructure with the industry has been set up, creating favourable conditions for Sweden’s crisis preparedness. The pandemic increased the food industry’s awareness and forced actors to work on their crisis management, which has led to more municipalities developing a contingency plan for ensuring food supply.
A competitive food industry
A competitive food industry is dependent on the export market. This is currently working well, but it may change depending on what happens in the world. The Government has worked actively to strengthen Swedish preparedness and, with the funds that were allocated in 2018, civil defence will be strengthened by a total of SEK 4.2 billion by 2025. In the spring amending budget for 2022, the Government proposes a support package of SEK 1 billion to continue to secure Swedish food production in line with the objectives of the food strategy.