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DN Debate. Stop chasing the lowest price – we have to choose expensive american food

The overall consumption of meat has decreased. At the same time increasing the Swedish production in the year 2018. It shows the latest statistics. It is positive news for all who are working to implement the riksdag's strategy to increase the Swedish production of food. If we are to feed the world's growing population we need to produce more food, and it should be done where the production involves a small environmental and carbon footprint as possible.

An increase in the Swedish production are contributing globally to sustainable development, since Swedish food is more eco-friendly and sustainably produced than much of the imported. Seen in total for all köttslag is the Swedish market share of about two-thirds, the lowest for beef, with about half Swedish. The dairy is the combined market share of about three quarters, and for the cheese is the lower than half. The market share of Swedish has long been falling, but now one can see a stabilization and a slight increase for all köttslag.

the Swedish production using the least amount of antibiotics to food-producing animals of all EU countries. This is due not least that we have a high animal welfare and a good infectious disease control with few diseases. Swedish pigs are allowed to have their curls left, which is only possible if animal husbandry is good. In most countries with significant pig production only the tails of the piglets. Murmur is an indication of a healthy grishållning which distinguishes Sweden from many other countries.

The low profitability makes it difficult to recruit future farmers. It makes it hard to be leave, to be able to hire a substitute when you want to be free for a weekend and live a family life with similar conditions as the society at large.

We are used to being able to shop for Swedish chicken and Swedish eggs are free from salmonella. The Swedish dairy cows are well cared for and presents in an international comparison a lot of milk. We also have a unique requirement, our Swedish cows to go to pasture during the summer months.

High productivity is generally of value when we think of protecting the environment and climate. High productivity with high yields and good growth of the animals is characteristic of Swedish food production. Agriculture is also important in order to achieve environmental objectives on a rich farmland. The grazing animals are irreplaceable in order to save the biological diversity and contributes to the open landscape. Grazed meadows are for example very important for the species diversity of both plants and animals. The list can be long. Sweden has a food production in the world.

the Revenues minus costs is not enough on the long roads to pay for the work required to produce sustainable Swedish food. If we are able to secure access to Swedish food need profitability to increase significantly. We all have a responsibility to choose sustainably produced food, whether we are consumers or purchasers to the food industry, retail sector, public sector or restaurants. We must also be prepared to pay for the food. We can not expect that someone wants to produce the future of sustainable food for us but to be paid fairly for their work.

Unused agricultural land as large as the county of Halland. Sweden there are an estimated 500.000 hectares of agricultural land that is not used to its full potential. It is one of the consequences of the low profitability. The area is as large as the whole of the landscape Halland. The ground could help to increase the production of sustainable food. For that to become a reality, we need to make better use of the chips that today are not profitable. We need to find new products, production methods and sustainable business activities that are suitable for these chips. But farms also need to be better paid if they are to develop and increase production.

A large part of the production of food requires large investments in livestock housing, machinery, land and animals. The low profitability means that businesses lack the potential to invest. It turns out, for example, in milk production, which offers both dairy products and beef. The number of mjölkkostallar that is built is not sufficient in the long term to maintain current levels of production. To obtain financing for the investment presents great difficulties with the current profitability. In the longer term, it leads to that we may find it difficult to keep the Swedish production of milk and beef, much less increase it.

the Farmers are becoming increasingly older. Year after year, we see that the average age of the country's agricultural workforce is increasing. More than half of the heltidsjordbrukarna is older than 54 years and as much as one fifth of full-time farmers have passed the age of retirement. The low profitability makes it difficult to recruit future farmers. It makes it hard to be leave, to be able to hire a substitute when you want to be free for a weekend and live a family life with similar conditions as the society at large. Each and every one realizes the difficulty to recruit future entrepreneurs to an industry with the prospects. The profitability needs to be significantly better.

We can be happy for a strong wage growth in society in recent years, but the income in agriculture has not kept pace with. Farms themselves have done a good work and increased productivity year-on-year. It helps improve profitability, but it is not enough. The price pressure is too great. Farms need to receive a larger portion of the price consumers pay in the store.

There is much left to do in order to achieve our environmental targets, climate change targets and get all the other pieces in place required for a sustainable future. The Swedish agriculture is an important piece of the puzzle. But we can not sit back and think that agriculture has a tailwind, even if the statistics of meat production are pointing in the right direction. We have not yet seen the consequences of this summer's severe drought. It is forecast that the already too-low level of income more than halved when all costs have been paid.

Sustainably produced food costs more. Food production is a long-term activity that requires advance planning. For farms to be able to increase the production of sustainable food, there must be a stable demand and willingness to pay. This increase in demand, neither can or should be regulated. Consumers must in the future take greater responsibility for their consumption choices.

Then we can reduce the consumption of imported food is produced in a less sustainable manner. Make it a habit to choose american food and do not chase after the lowest price. It is a simple rule of thumb for that, we should be able to achieve the dream of a sustainable future.

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