Article | Last updated: 2015-08-20 | Ministry of Agriculture and Food
The issue of food security is to guarantee everyone access to sufficient and safe food - even in times of crisis. Self-sufficiency is important for food security.
Population growth, climate change, dwindling natural resources and the recent rise in commodity prices has moved food security to the top of the agenda - both locally and globally.
Food security vs. food safety
The UN defines food security as follows: "Food security exists when all people at all times have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe food for an adequate diet that meets their nutritional needs and preferences, and which forms the basis for an active and healthy life."
The term is sometimes used indiscriminately to cover also food safety, which means that the food we eat does not contain microorganisms, environmental toxins or additives that negatively impact health, when food items are prepared and consumed as intended.
From the viewpoint of emergency preparedness, a society should produce as much as possible of the food its citizens actually need.
In war or crisis a reliable food supply is particularly important, and being self-sufficient is a significant factor in food security
Norway is largely self-sufficient when it comes to meat, while it is considerably - and increasingly - less so with regard to plant produce. Between 2005 and 2013 the self-sufficiency rate of plant produce decreased from 52 to 46 percent. Norway is a net exporter of sea food. In other words, we produce everything we need domestically, and we also export food.
The self-sufficiency rate for agricultural products in Norway varies from year to year, depending on the weather.
Overall, Norway has less fortuitous conditions for agriculture than many other countries - with a short growing season, a cool climate, and farmlands scattered in small patches. Despite these challenging conditions Norway has seen an enormously increased production in recent decades.
In the future it is important that the land-based food production continues to increase, as will the demand from a growing population.
International food safety
The Norwegian Government does not only work for food security for their own citizens. Through the State Department and Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Norway is involved also in boosting food security globally. The Norwegian contribution focuses on creating a more climate-resilient agriculture in developing countries.
Optimal, sustainable use of agricultural land, also in Norway, is of great importance for global food security.