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“The Nordic Agriculture Needs to Adapt to Climate Change”

Date: 09.05.2019 Author: Sara Landqvist Category: Plants


Establish a Nordic consortium, expand the research, make use of the Nordic seed collection and continue to develop collaborations between the public and private sector. Those are some of the recommendations given by Nordic universities, plant breeding companies and farmer’s organizations in a new report focusing on what needs to be done in order to meet the climate change challenges for the agriculture.

The last two summers, with drought and heavy rainfall respectively, have made it evident how hard climate change can affect the agriculture in the Nordic countries as the yields decreased substantially. To decrease the risk of the same, or worse, scenarios repeating themselves in the future, leading researchers, farmer’s organizations and plant breeders now raise their voices. With nine recommendations, they encourage politicians and other policy makers to secure the Nordic agriculture for the future.

“These nine recommendations aim to secure that the agriculture can withstand and adapt to the many challenges climate change holds. For us in the Nordic countries, a warmer climate can also lead to many positive effects. But in order to make use of them, an efficient and long-term work is needed. This is best executed on a Nordic level”, says Annette Olesen, Plant Breeding Director at Lantmännen.

Key for future investments

The recommendations in the report also focus on the importance of evaluating and securing genetic resources in a long-term perspective, encourage more people to study plant sciences and invest in the pre-breeding activities in the Nordic countries. The report is an important key to how future investments in Nordic agriculture ought to be formed.

“These recommendations come from the leading experts within this field. Now, we hope they can lead to the necessary steps being taken in order to secure our future food production. Climate change is already here. We can’t wait any longer” says Lise Lykke Steffensen, Executive Director at NordGen.

The recommendations are:

  1. Establish a Nordic consortium/Nordic centre of excellence with the aim to facilitate re- search, screening and evaluation of genetic resources, pre-breeding and breeding with the end goal to produce new crop varieties to support future food production in the Nordic countries.
  2. Stimulate efforts to screen genetic resources for agriculturally relevant traits, preferable in Nordic cooperation projects.
  3. Make sure that the genetic resources needed for food security and climate change adaptation are adequately conserved long-term.
  4. Continue to develop Nordic public-private pre-breeding projects, in order to channel genetic resources into plant breeding and to support Nordic plant breeding efforts.
  5. Make sure that the Nordic region has an established network of field-testing locations representing the different climates, environments and disease pressures across the region. The number of field-testing sites is today limited.
  6. Support research on topics of relevance for food security and climate change adaptation, such as research on drought and waterlog- ging, winterhardiness, emerging pests and diseases, plant physiology.
  7. Support research on topics of relevance for climate change mitigation, such as research on cover crops, perennial crops, root systems, no-till agriculture and CO2 capture.
  8. Encourage research both on the main crops that are important in the Nordic region today, and on new or upcoming crops/crop types.
  9. Form a joint Nordic education on plant breeding and related topics. There is a need for well-educated plant breeders in the Nordic region, but the number of plant breeders in each Nordic country is small and good national education is today not available.
The report Nordic Agriculture and Climate Change: Mitigation and Adaptation is the result of a workshop arranged by NordGen and NordForsk, two institutions under the Nordic Council of Ministers.


Annette Olesen, Plant Breeding Director, Lantmännen
+46 706 94 66 37

Lise Lykke Steffensen, direktör NordGen 
+46 738 17 12 15