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Agriculture and the environment in the Nordic countries

Policies for sustainability and green growth

image of Agriculture and the environment in the Nordic countries

In the future, demand for agricultural products will increase. The agricultural sector must meet the increase in demand without compromising the natural resources of which it depends on and damage fragile ecosystems. Sustainable agricultural practices and green growth is necessary for this to happen and agricultural policy must facilitate such development. How agriculture contributes to water pollution has been in focus in the Nordic countries for many years. In many places, nutrient emissions have been successfully reduces, but targets are still not met. The implementation of the Water Framework Directive makes policies that facilitate reduction of nutrient runoff even more relevant than before. This report looks at experiences from the Nordic countries and makes suggestions for future policies for sustainable agriculture and green growth. The report has been commissioned by the Nordic Council of Ministers. The study was carried out by the Norwegian Agricultural Economics Research Institute (NILF).

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Conclusion

This report has looked at how agricultural policy measures, in particular payments and compensations to farmers, can be developed in order to support a sustainable agricultural production and green growth in the Nordic countries. Concerning effective policy instruments to reduce the ecological footprints from agriculture it is often emphasised that the most efficient policy instruments are to reduce agricultural production oriented subsidies, and then pay separately for the production of public goods. This could, however, hamper the achievement of other policy goals for agriculture and increase the transaction costs of policies.

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