References Agriculture, Economy, Food

Not a single foodstuff in Finland is produced completely independently.

The customer

The National Emergency Supply Agency (NESA) improves and maintains the security of supply in Finland. It leads the collaboration of industrial operators and public administration in preparation activities, takes care of the Government’s stockpiling activities and secures the production of critical products and services. The agency’s operation is funded by the Security of Supply Fund, which is not dependent on the national budget.

The need

Import is necessary in all foodstuff production in Finland: not a single foodstuff in the country is produced completely independently. NESA wanted to determine how dependent production is on import, and what the degree of domesticity of the production is. The first survey was carried out in 2012, and a second one in 2015.

The solution

The degree of dependence of the food sector was calculated separately for each branch using an input-output analysis. The survey took into consideration all branches from agriculture to the food industry, the selling of food, and catering. Both finished products and imported raw materials and energy were taken into consideration in the determination of the overall import rate. Denmark and Sweden were used as reference countries in the second survey.
Each branch in the food sector can examine key items related to its dependence on import and its preparation for interruptions. The results can be utilised by both NESA and private sector operators.

The effectiveness

The Finnish food production chain is mainly dependent on import by sea across the Baltic, and conditions in this region can affect import activities. It is not enough that disturbances are prepared for in agriculture or food processing; parties providing resources to these fields should also be prepared. Not a single product is of completely domestic origin, if for no other reason than because of the import of energy. The survey has been eye-opening in many ways, and Sweden has also expressed interest in the determination of the degree of domestic origin of Swedish products.

The funding

NESA and the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (the Tuonti project, 2012); NESA (the Tuonti II project, 2015)

Comments from the customer

“It is important for us to know the situation in the food market. The question of self-sufficiency has always been important to Finland, and even minor changes in trends are material in such complex matters as this. The survey was used to compare the situations in Finland, Sweden and Denmark, and we were happy with its success.”

Jyrki Hakola, Director of the Basic Supply and Industry Department, NESA

Comments from Luke

“For a researcher, this is a good way to initiate discussion and illustrate how dependent we are on import activities. The comparison with other Nordic countries was quite a task, because there were so many dimensions. Other countries do not really practice security of supply work the way we do in Finland, which can partly be explained by Finland’s history and location. From the point of view of soy and energy, the EU is dependent on import, but global commerce and economy are always based on exchange. However, security of supply has become a more common consideration again in recent years.”

Marja Knuuttila, Senior Researcher, Luke