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Agriculture and the environment in the Nordic countries

Policies for sustainability and green growth

image of Agriculture and the environment in the Nordic countries

In the future, demand for agricultural products will increase. The agricultural sector must meet the increase in demand without compromising the natural resources of which it depends on and damage fragile ecosystems. Sustainable agricultural practices and green growth is necessary for this to happen and agricultural policy must facilitate such development. How agriculture contributes to water pollution has been in focus in the Nordic countries for many years. In many places, nutrient emissions have been successfully reduces, but targets are still not met. The implementation of the Water Framework Directive makes policies that facilitate reduction of nutrient runoff even more relevant than before. This report looks at experiences from the Nordic countries and makes suggestions for future policies for sustainable agriculture and green growth. The report has been commissioned by the Nordic Council of Ministers. The study was carried out by the Norwegian Agricultural Economics Research Institute (NILF).

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Introduction

In June 2012 the Nordic Council of Ministers for fisheries, agriculture, food and forestry signed a declaration about the primary sectors’ and food industry’s responsibility for green growth. This declaration verifies the importance of the primary sector and food industry for green growth. The primary sector provides food, fibres, animal fodder, materials for construction and energy production. These products are of vital importance for the society. A growing global population requires increased food production. At the same time there is also increasing demand for energy and other non-food agricultural products. The aim of green growth is to increase both sustainability and competitiveness of production.

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