Norwegian growers aren't producing enough fruit and vegetables to meet the rising demand. The minister of Agriculture wants the growers to grow more tomatoes and apples.
"Nowadays health is in the spotlight. The average household consumes more fruits and vegetables and people are eating more healthily. This makes us happy of course," says Kåre Wiig. He is one of the largest Norwegian vegetable growers. The horticultural company at Orre in Rogaland has the second largest greenhouse complex in Norway and Wiig is well known for his sweet tomatoes and crunchy lettuce. But Wiig and his colleagues aren't able to meet the growing demand of the Norwegian consumer.
The Norwegians eat 24 percent more fruits and vegetables than ten years ago and even twice as much as in the 60's figures from the ministry of Agriculture show. Because the supply is lagging behind the demand, more is being imported. The government wants to change this. "I notice the consumer is demanding Norwegian fruit and vegetables and I believe we should produce them. Our agriculture has a stronger competitive position than previously thought," says minister of Agriculture and Food Jon Georg Dale (FRP). In the agreements Dale made with growers not long ago a larger production of fruit and vegetables is foreseen. "The government wants us to produce more fruits and vegetables in Norway and wants to invest in this," says Dale. "This way Norway doesn't have to import as many fruits and vegetables. Because the consumer is prepared to pay more, we can generate a larger market share."
Kåre Wiig notices that the demand is rising, yet growing vegetables remains a risky business, he believes. "It is mainly the weather conditions and the consumers who determine the success. We will always have to take into account that it could go either way."