‘Half a billion kronor to make Sweden 80 percent food self-sufficient’: Deputy PM

Sweden’s Green Party wants to invest heavily in increased food security and organic farming, says Deputy Prime Minister Isabella Lövin.

'Half a billion kronor to make Sweden 80 percent food self-sufficient': Deputy PM
“This is something we must take seriously, researchers have alarmingly warned us about it," Says Lövin. Vilhelm Stokstad / TT

Sweden’s Green Party is calling for an investment of half a billion kronor to take the country’s self-sufficiency rate up from the current 50 percent to 80 percent.

“We must ensure that Sweden can become more self-sufficient, in part but not exclusively, through increased organic food production,” stated Lövin, who's also Minister for International Development, Cooperation and Climate.

The Green Party’s proposal comes at a time when record temperatures in several parts of the world and drought in Sweden shed light on how climate change is already here, the Deputy Prime Minister argued.

“This is something we must take seriously, researchers have alarmingly warned us about it.

“We have to prepare ourselves for the fact that we cannot import 50 percent of all the food we eat and make sure we have a farm network that works for us in the future,”

Sweden’s Green Party proposes that a parliamentary inquiry be appointed with the task of achieving the 80 percent self-supply goal.

They’ve also proposed that funds for this shift towards organic farming be doubled and agricultural land for these purposes be increased to 40 percent.

The Green Party also wants to increase support for Swedish-produced feed and reduce dependence on imported fertilizers.

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Green Party leader: ‘Right-wing parties want to push us out of parliament’

Per Bolund, joint leader of Sweden's Green party, spoke for thirteen and a half minutes at Almedalen before he mentioned the environment, climate, or fossil fuels, in a speech that began by dwelling on healthcare, women's rights, and welfare, before returning to the party's core issue.

Green Party leader: 'Right-wing parties want to push us out of parliament'

After an introduction by his joint leader Märta Stenevi, Bolund declared that his party was going into the election campaign on a promise “to further strengthen welfare, with more staff and better working conditions in healthcare, and school without profit-making, where the money goes to the pupils and not to dividends for shareholders”. 

Only then did he mention the party’s efforts when in government to “build the world’s first fossil-free welfare state”. 

“We know that if we want welfare to work in the future, we must have an answer to our time’s biggest crisis: the threat to the environment and the climate,” he said.

“We know that there is no welfare on a dead planet. We need to take our society into a new time, where we end our dependency on oil, meet the threat to the climate, and build a better welfare state within nature’s boundaries, what we call a new, green folkhem [people’s home].” 

He presented green policies as something that makes cities more liveable, with the new sommargågator — streets pedestrianised in the summer — showing how much more pleasant a life less dependent on cars might be.  

He then said his party wanted Sweden to invest 100 billion kronor a year on speeding up the green transition, to make Sweden fossil fuel-free by 2030. 

“We talk about the climate threat because it’s humanity’s biggest challenge, our biggest crisis,” he said. “And because we don’t have much time.” 

In the second half of his speech, however, Bolund used more traditional green party rhetoric, accusing the other political parties in Sweden of always putting off necessary green measures, because they do not seem urgent now, like a middle-aged person forgetting to exercise. 

“We know that we need to cut emissions radically if we are even going to have a chance of meeting our climate goal, but for all the other parties there’s always a reason to delay,” he said. 

“We are now seeing the curtain go up on the backlash in climate politics in Sweden. All the parties have now chosen to slash the biofuels blending mandate which means that we reduce emissions from petrol and diesel step for step, so you automatically fill your tank in a greener way. Just the government’s decision to pause the  reduction mandate will increase emissions by a million tonnes next year.” 

The right-wing parties, he warned, were also in this election running a relentless campaign against the green party. 

“The rightwing parties seem to have given up trying to win the election on their own policies,” he said. “Trying to systematically push out of parliament seems to be their way of trying to take power. And they don’t seem above any means. Slander campaigns, lies, and false information have become every day in Swedish right-wing politics.” 

He ended the speech with an upbeat note. 

“A better, more sustainable world is possible. There is a future to long for. If you give us a chance then that future is much closer than you think!”

Read the speech here in Swedish and here in (Google Translated) English.