Published 15.12.2022

National Emergency Supply Agency boosting Finland’s emergency grain stockpiles

The National Emergency Supply Agency (NESA) has launched the procurement of additional grains for Finland’s emergency stockpiles. The aim is to increase the size of emergency stockpiles of oats, wheat and barley produced in Finland and suitable for human consumption. The total amount to be procured corresponds to approximately 2.5 months of average consumption. The measure is intended to improve Finland’s long-term preparedness amid a challenging global situation; it is not being carried out in response to any acute grain shortage.

“With this procurement of additional grain supplies, the National Emergency Supply Agency aims to strengthen Finland’s preparedness for disruptions amid a changed security situation that is estimated to remain challenging for several years. Following the 2021 crop failure year, Finland’s commercial grain reserves were at the lowest they have been in over a decade in June this year. The reasons behind this include last year’s crop yield, which was lower than the amount of grains consumed, and Finland’s strong grain exports. This growing season, the harvest was good, providing enough grain for emergency stockpiles as well,” says Jaakko Pekki, the director of the NESA’s Operations Department.

In accordance with the Government Decision on the Objectives of Security of Supply, Finland maintains emergency stockpiles of grains corresponding to at least six months of regular human consumption for the purpose of ensuring domestic supply in the event of severe disruptions and emergency conditions. Finland’s current emergency stockpiles are already of the size required by the Decree. This additional procurement will increase the total size of the emergency grain stockpiles to correspond to approximately 8.5 months of average consumption.

The grain market has been affected by the Russian invasion of Ukraine

The already sensitive international grain market has been shaken by the Russian invasion of Ukraine this year: demand in grain-exporting countries has grown, and Finland’s grain exports are also expected to remain strong. According to European Commission estimates, the EU’s grain stocks could shrink by nearly 20 per cent during 2022–2023.

While the NESA is responsible for maintaining Finland’s emergency stockpiles, any decisions on the use of the stockpiles are made by the Finnish Government. Domestic grains play a crucial role in Finland’s primary production and food production sectors. If grains are not available in sufficient quantities on the free market, domestic demand can be supplemented by tapping into the emergency stockpiles.

In spring 2022, Finland released approximately 8,500 tonnes of spring grains, meaning barley, oats and spring wheat, to the market from its emergency stockpiles in response to a seed shortage resulting from the poor harvest in the previous year. One of the reasons behind the shortage was the exceptional weather in 2021. The tapping of the emergency stockpiles helped ensure a sufficient supply of seeds for the spring sowing and had a major positive impact on the cultivation of barley, in particular.