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Project facts

Project manager

Ann Albihn Associaate professor ann.albihn@sva.se

Main applicant




Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

Swedish Board of Agriculture





2020 - 2020

Food contingency – production and availability of animal sourced food during a crisis caused by climate change or extreme weather extents

Food contingency – production and availability of animal sourced food during a crisis caused by climate change or extreme weather extents 

The Swedish self-sufficiency of animal sourced food is low and the availability of crucial input such as feed, medications, artificial fertilizer, spare parts and fuel is mainly depending on import, even under normal conditions. In the event of a crisis, such as a prolonged draught, flooding, forest fires and storms, lack of inputs and impaired distribution of electricity is likely to obstruct or disable continued animal production.

In order to obtain a higher food security, mapping of weaknesses and adaptation needs of the primary producers (animal owners) as well as value chain actors (abattoirs, dairies, processors) is essential. Today, the awareness among multiple value chain actors of how to maintain food production during crisis is low. Large scale pig- and chicken production is particularly vulnerable due to the dependence on frequent transports and a high demand for a reliable and constant energy supply. Herbivores are better suited for survival in the event of a crisis, however, grazing is often limited to “part time grazing”, to improve production by feeding the animals supplement. The limited availability of grazing grounds could be an obstacle to expanding the proportion of natural grazing in the daily ration. The number of abattoirs and dairies in Sweden is low, meaning that handling, transport and distribution of milk and meat is highly dependent on access to energy and infrastructure. Small scale abattoirs and dairies (<2% of the current production) might be in favour for continued production under altered conditions.

Disease transmission, apart from being the primary cause of crisis, might form a secondary problem since hygiene and management routine standards might be difficult to sustain and possibilities of diagnostics and disease control can be limited. Economic tension on primary producers as well as value chain actors aggravates the situation, stocking of key inputs and alternative supply systems of water and energy might be restricted. Some geographical areas, such as Gotland and Norrbotten may be particularly vulnerable. It is reasonable to assume that the big city regions in Sweden are also more at risk due to the lack of local food production.

SVA will be in charge of the work group, in close cooperation with The Swedish University of Agriculture’s “SLU Future Foods” platform, the Swedish board of Agriculture and the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency. Further cooperation to some degree will be carried out together with Swedish Food Agency and other invited stakeholders and producers.

It is the intention of the work group to arrange a hearing to obtain views and ideas to further stimulate involvement and knowledge dissemination between the authorities, invited stake holders and producers. We will also conduct study visits to primary producers, investigate the current knowledge and research activities within the field and put together a report based on the pursuits of the work group. The aim of the report is to suggest different routes forward in order to obtain a higher security for the production of animal sourced food during crisis. The report will be published completely or partly online and will form the foundation for a more extensive application (AG and other stake holders) for continued work within food security.

Last updated : 2021-01-02