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Swedish growers called to invest in new crops

The demand from traders for Swedish vegetables, fruits and berries is on the rise. "Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for us to decline a sale because we do not have the products," says Karin Oscarsson, of the Swedish entity MOEK; an economic association owned by growers which distributes their products to wholesalers.

Now the association is looking for new members to cover this rising demand. More of all kinds of vegetables, fruits and berries are needed. The association currently sells products like cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, cabbage roots or rhubarb. The advantage of the economic association is that production is planned based on the needs that exist on the market.

The association, in collaboration with LRF Östergötland, aims to convince already existing growers to expand, as well as to attract brand new growers. For the association, it is important to bring in a new generation of growers to meet the increased demand for nutritional and Swedish-produced foods, as well as to fill in the gaps left by growers who are expected to retire within a few years.

"We think of a kind of sponsorship, where experienced growers can act as a springboard for the new ones," says Karin Oscarsson.

Ulrik Lovang, CEO of Lovang Agricultural Consultants, said that "it's very exciting when the market raises the question of whether new crops can be produced," he says.

He sees different categories of entrepreneurs that could be interested in the initiative; for example, growers who are already specialised in a given crop, such as potatoes, and may want to invest in other vegetable productions in order to gain additional markets.

It may also be an option for growers who only currently have grain crops and want better paid working hours and increased sales per hectare. A third category could be brand new companies willing to start investing in a given crop. 

At the same time, a very important question is who will take the risk of the new venture. If trade is serious about the need for new Swedish production, some sort of price hedging should be offered.


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