Bama and Gartnerhallen are guaranteeing that there is sufficient fruit, vegetables, and potatoes available in Norway. Bama is a fruit and vegetable distributor in that country. Gartnerhallen is a Norwegian agricultural cooperative. At the same time, the Norwegian government has to bear in mind that this year's crops cannot be harvested by migrant seasonal workers. It must be done by Norwegians.
Rune Flaen, CEO of Bama, says: "Here at Bama, we can assure everyone that we have good access to products. This is also the case with other national distributors. These products will reach stores in the usual manner. We must, however, take certain measures. We must be able to ensure this for the remainder of 2020 too. Migrant workers would normally soon have helped.
"They would have done so with the planting, sowing, and setting out of vegetables and potatoes. At a later stage, it is mostly these laborers who would harvest the crops grown in Norway. Now, the Norwegian authorities will have to take this into account. This work will have to be done by Norwegians themselves."
Norwegian farmers are entirely dependent on these foreign workers. Bama and Gartnerhallen are significant food industry players in Norway. As such, they are asking that national measures be put in place. These must guarantee the Norwegian food supply.
Gartnerhallen counts more than 1,000 fruit and vegetable growers among its members. CEO, Elisabeth Morthen says: "This coronavirus crisis means many overseas migrant laborers may now not leave their home countries. This is a measure that has been put in place. It is needed to try and curb the worldwide spread of this disease."
"It is still unclear how long this situation will last. The preparations for the season are in full swing in different parts of Norway. All the while, greenhouse tomatoes and cucumbers are already being harvested. The need for seasonal workers will only continue to rise every week. This situation could create a significant demand for workers."
"Companies in this Scandanavian country are being confronted by an extremely challenging situation. Many of them have already had to layoff people. We are, unfortunately, expecting that many employees will soon be completely or partially jobless. We are, therefore, urging the government to make students and dismissed workers available. They can start working in the Norwegian food industry. They are needed in spring, summer, and autumn," says Elisabeth.
Norwegian farmers run their businesses themselves. They employ seasonal workers. Flaen and Morthen agree that growers need help. Flaen says, "We have a great working relationship with Norwegian fruit and vegetable farmers. They are some of the best in the world when it comes to food quality and labor conditions. Bama is one of these growers' biggest clients."
"We, therefore, have a responsibility to the food supply in Norway. In the situation that has now arisen, we must work together. We must find creative ways to come up with good solutions. We think everyone should put their shoulder to the wheel. In this way, we will not only guarantee the Norwegian food supply. We can also contribute to creating jobs in these uncertain times."
About Bama and Gartnerhallen:
- Bama Gruppen AS is one of the oldest trading companies in Norway. It is currently the largest fruit and vegetable distributor in that country. The company has a network of close on 1,400 farmers across 80 countries. Every year, Bama processes large quantities of not only fresh fruit, vegetables, and berries. It also does so with potatoes, beverages, and flowers.
- Gartnerhallen SA is Norway's cooperative within the fruit, vegetable, and potato cultivation sector. About 1,030 fruit and vegetable growers make up this cooperative.
- Today, 34% of the flow of goods in Norway consists of locally grown products. These have a total volume of 140,000 tons of fruit and vegetables. During the Norwegian cultivation season - which is from May to October - local products make up roughly 70% of the goods stream.