Agroforestry / April 28, 2017

Finland: Agriculture under the Midnight Sun

The Republic of Finland is a mid-sized country located in northeastern Europe, sharing a long border with Russia. After gaining complete independence from Sweden and Russia in 1917, Finland has spent a good amount of effort throughout the last century defending its national sovereignty, particularly during the time of the Soviet Union. A robust democratic nation and a free market economy since the end of the Second World War, Finland is one of the most developed countries in Europe. Furthermore, it joined the European Union in 1995 and adopted the Euro as its national currency in 1999. Finland has a total territory of little over 338.000 square kilometers, which is somewhat smaller than Montana. Geographically, the country is a predominantly flat country with rolling hills and lakes in a cold and subarctic climate. Finland has a total population of 5.5 million citizens, more than 80% of which live in an urban setting, notably the capital city of Helsinki, which has about 1.2 million inhabitants.

Currently, Finland’s annual gross domestic product (GDP) is of approximately US$230 billion. However, its national economy has experienced sluggish growth in recent years. The Finnish national economy is divided into 3% agriculture, 27% manufacturing, and 70% services. Meanwhile, the agriculture industry utilizes some 8% of the national territory, while another 73% is forested. Likewise, Finland’s agriculture & lumber industry employs little over 4% of the national labor force, while manufacturing & construction employs almost 23%, the financial & business sectors employs another 13%, transport & communications employ over 30%, and the public sector employs almost 29%.

In terms of natural resources, Finland has timber, limestone, and minerals, such as iron, copper, lead, zinc, chromite, nickel, gold, and silver. Within manufacturing, the national industry is focused on metals & metallurgy, electronics, machinery, scientific instruments, shipbuilding, paper production, foodstuffs, chemicals, textiles, and clothing. Meanwhile, the country’s agricultural industry has as main products barley, wheat, sugar beets, potatoes, dairy cattle, and fish. In terms of trade, Finland’s main partners are fellow EU members, notably Germany, Sweden, and the Netherlands, as well as Russia and the United States. As a member of the European Union, the Finnish domestic industry is protected and subsidized under the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

Finland: Agriculture under the Midnight Sun

In recent years, the average per capita protein intake of animal origin amongst the Finnish population has been of 69 grams daily. Meanwhile, cereals, roots, and tubers supply about 32% of the average food energy intake in the country. Simultaneously, land distribution in Finland has evolved throughout the last half century. Back in 1961, permanent pastures and meadows in the country covered 100.000 hectares, while arable land covered almost 2.7 million hectares and permanent crops accounted for merely 1.000 hectares. More recently, by 2014, permanent pastures and meadows had decreased to about 33.000 hectares, while arable land represented little over 2.2 million hectares and permanent crops covered approximately 3.300 hectares. Finally, this means that in 2014, the total amount of land devoted to agriculture in Finland was almost 2.3 million hectares. In the same year, Finland registered well over 22 million hectares of forested territory.

(Read more about Agricultural and Cereal Markets in Ireland)

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