On Friday the toll on feed import is lifted
On Friday, customs are removed on feed imports to help farmers affected by drought. During the last month alone, 30 importers have registered with the Norwegian Food Safety Authority (Mattilsynet).
– We must employ all measures at our disposal to alleviate this situation, says leader in the Association of Small Farmers, Merete Furuberg.
She is like many farmers across southern Norway hard hit by the feed crisis that has arisen after the worst summer drought since 1947. In her farm at Grue Finnskog in Hedmark, where she is keeping sheep and goats, she has so far only received about a tenth of the bales of hay she has usually harvested at this time of the year.
Now the grazing inside the predator barrier also begins to be insufficient after very little rainfall as of late.
– I could have let the animals out into the forest to graze, but due to wolves I do not dear to do so, says Furuberg.
30 more importers of feed
Friday last week, Minister of Agriculture, Jon Georg Dale (Progress Party), introduced several emergency measures to help the farmers. One of the measures is that the tariff on hay is lowered as of Friday. Everyone who imports or deals in feed must be registered with the Norwegian Food Safety Authority. According to the them, around 30 importers have registered as feed importers during the last month, but it is not clear whether all of them will import hay and straw.
Importing feed is nevertheless not completely unproblematic. Feed from abroad can contain foreign diseases that can spread to Norwegian herds. Sweden and Finland are considered relatively safe to import from, but both countries have been affected by the same drought and feed shortages as the Norwegian farmers.
Denmark is also affected by drought, and the Veterinary Institute informed Nationen on Wednesday that it is risky to import feed from there. The Baltic countries, Poland, the Czech Republic, Romania and Spain also have infectious diseases that the Norwegian authorities do not want to reach Norway.
– We ask people to consider whether other measures can be implemented before importing feed. It is the one who imports, sells or feeds the animals who is responsible to ensure that it is safe, says Head of Department in the Food Safety Authority, Solfrid Åmdal, to NTB.
Does not wish to use imported feed
Merete Furuberg says that she is also skeptical about using feed from abroad.
-I will not feed my animals with imported feed, for fear of disease, says Furuberg.
She is now asking for measures from the Minister for Agriculture, which she believes can make it easier to rely on Norwegian feed.
– The Ministry of Agriculture should consider, among other things, to cover the transport of feed inside Norway. I heard about a farmer on Toten who was offered feed from Finnmark, but who had to decline because the cost of transport was too expensive, says Furuberg.
Politics can not make up for lack of rain
Minister of Agriculture, Jon Georg Dale, says that it is currently not necessary to cover the transport of feed inside Norway.
– Many farmers in western Norway bought feed from east of the mountains when rain destroyed their crops lat year, and that is a good alternative. The cost of transport must be covered by the farmers themselves.
He says that the Department of Agriculture have done what they can at the moment to alleviate the situation.
– We have provided the measures we feel to be the most effective in the present situation. Politcy in itself can not compensate for lack of rain buy itself , and we are aware that it will be a demanding autumn and winter for many farmers, Dale says.
© NTB scanpix / #Norway Today