Denmark is on the Christmas tree top in Europe and exported around 9 million trees last year. Norway exported 3,000.
Nearly 400,000 Danish Christmas trees, primarily Norwegian fir trees, ended last year in Norwegian living rooms.
Total Danish Christmas tree exports generated around NOK 2 billion in revenues last year, and about half came from sales to Germany, figures from the Danish Agricultural Agency show.
Other sales were largely to other European countries such as France, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, but some trees also ended up in distant countries such as Morocco, Singapore and the United Arab Emirates.
The Danes also annually produce 35,000 tonnes of cut greenery for use in wreaths and other decorations, and most of this also goes to export.
The production of Christmas trees and cut greenery in Denmark provides around 2,000 FTEs (full-time equivalent), but during the busiest period from mid-November to mid-December, around 5,000 people work seven days a week in packing and shipping.
Norwegians bought around 1.4 million Christmas trees and paid around NOK 850 million for them, figures from Norsk Juletre show.
Around 1 million trees were Norwegian, something Agriculture and Food Minister Olaug Bollestad (KrF) was pleased about.
– Norwegian consumers want Norwegian Christmas trees for Christmas, especially the Norwegian fjelledelgrana that is becoming increasingly popular. Norwegian short-traveled trees are both more environmentally friendly and support a cost-effective industry, says Bollestad.
Small Norwegian exports
However, Norwegian exports are minimal, and demand for fjelledelgran abroad is far higher today than the producers are able to deliver. The potential for the industry is therefore huge, she believes.
– The industry should now look at opportunities to intensify Norwegian production to meet the increased demand, says Bollestad.
The Danes, for their part, are investing in the production of nobeledelgran, which has so far been difficult due to the climate. Now climate change makes it possible.
Nobeledelgran, which in Denmark is called sølvgran, is a robust tree that is resistant to diseases and insects. Therefore, little pesticides are needed and the tree can thus be grown organically.
– Mild climates now make it possible to grow sølvgran as a Christmas tree, says senior researcher Ulrik Bräunerved Department of Geosciences and Natural Management at the University of Copenhagen.
– Sølvgran also has very good durability indoors and does not sprinkle, which makes it attractive to have the tree in the living room, he says.
© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today