Published 23.03.2022

Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment: state emergency stockpiles to release spring cereal and rape seeds for sowing to secure sufficient supply

There is currently a shortage of seeds for sowing spring cereals and rape. This is the result of the abnormal weather conditions and poor crop yields of the 2021 growing season. The Finnish Government has decided to tap into the emergency stockpiles of these seeds temporarily in order to secure a sufficient supply of seeds for spring sowing.

As such, the National Emergency Supply Agency (NESA) will be releasing to the market a total of no more than 15,000 tonnes of seeds for sowing spring cereals, i.e. barley, oats and spring wheat, and no more than 50 tonnes of seeds for sowing rape, according to the bulletin released by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment on 17 March 2022.

Pursuant to the decision, the NESA must ensure that the stockpiles are used in a competition-neutral manner without disrupting the market.

The quantities of seed taken from the stockpiles must be returned without delay, once production permits it. In the NESA’s estimation, restoring the stockpiles will take 1–3 years, depending on the markets and production conditions.

Seeds for sowing are essential for food production. In practice, the measures to manage the supply of seeds for sowing rely exclusively on domestic production, commercial stockpiles and, ultimately, emergency stockpiles. Import is of little significance, as seeds of the species cultivated in Finland are largely unavailable from foreign sources.

The Government previously decided to use the emergency stockpiles of seeds for sowing in the spring of 2018. The necessity was due to the weather conditions of the 2017 growing season, which substantially weakened the quality and quantity of certified seeds and farm saved seeds.