(THIS ARTICLE IS MACHINE TRANSLATED by Google from Norwegian)
As a result of the election result, we will have a new government in a month's time. Many expectations are linked to the change of government. Expectations of a new policy with new visions. In agriculture, we have many times crossed our fingers for a new course of government change. But time and time again we have been disappointed. Politics is still on the cusp of fewer and fewer farms regardless of government.
However, the closure of farms and the industrialization of food production have been particularly rapid under the declining government: Nearly 4000 farms have been closed down every year under Lars Sponheim. This is a stronger one
percent decline than ever before, also stronger than during the 1970 crisis that led to the Hitra uprising and the escalation decision for agriculture.
Is the time now for a new escalation decision? Yes, but of course not as a copy of the old. Agriculture needs a new political course to meet today's and tomorrow's challenges: preserving the land resources in an ever-increasing number of people, making production more sustainable, providing consumers with a wide range of high quality food and securing employment in the industry. The new government parties should already set goals for a new agricultural policy. Some of these goals should be:
1) Build new alliances in the WTO.
Negotiations in the WTO are now taking place at a high gear up to the final Tokyo summit in December. Norway's interests are strongly pressured, but we have common interests with many other countries. For Norway, it is not alone in wanting to protect food production for its own sake
population. Indeed, this is a widespread desire not only among our traditional allies such as Switzerland and Japan, but also among a number of developing countries. The right to protect their own agriculture with customs is essential for these countries, and their highest wish is that their own agriculture should not be outstripped by subsidized food from rich countries. In a statement from the summit of South Asian parliamentarians in Islamabad August 29-30 this year, it reads, among other things:
the decade has produced devastating results for poor countries. "
Similar views have previously emerged, among other things. from West Africa. An alliance for food sovereignty and fair trade can thus become an important power factor in the WTO. This of course assumes that Norway too
respects the rights of other countries to protect their vital interests in areas such as fishing, education and health.
2) Adopt a moratorium (temporary ban) on genetically modified organisms in open fields for ten years.
The matter is very relevant since the EU now requires that Norway automatically approve genetically modified organisms approved in the EU. The defiant government has given clear signals that it does not want such automatic approval. A new red-green government can't be worse!
3) Ensure agriculture an income development in line with other groups.
This is important for slowing down the shutdown. To achieve this a) the transfers to agriculture must have a clearer structural profile, and it must
b) the amount of transfers a use can receive; b) the transfers must stimulate the development of local high-quality products that give producers a higher profit margin;
and local renewable resources rather than agricultural industrialization.
4) A new fence and grazing law must be prepared that ensures the use of pasture.
Today's law is unclear and does not lead to rational utilization of pastures. The pastures are important for agriculture both financially and because they can provide the basis for the development of new, high quality organic products.
5) The soil protection must be strengthened.
More and more land is being built down, and a red-green government should ensure that the land remains green and not laid under asphalt. For the four-year period, the goal must be halving the reduction of food soil.
Agricultural policy must take a new course. The belief that greater and greater use should solve the problems of the industry has not prevailed. The US model based on industrial economies of scale and standardized volume production cannot work in Norway. How about betting on the "Alpine model", with small uses, lots of pasture and local food production that gives the farmer income? Should we be able to take advantage
agricultural land in the country, we must accept and build on a small-scale structure where small and medium-sized farms are also economically viable.
Ole-Jacob Christensen is a board member of the Norwegian Farmers 'and Small Farmers' Association