Hunger Games: Swedes Told to ‘Stock Their Homes’ as Food Reserves Dwindle
Swedish supermarkets offer their customers a wide choice of delicacies from across the globe, but are heavily reliant on imports. The Nordic country’s food reserves are so low that they would be eaten up within a single week in the event of a national emergency.
According to the Swedish Civil Defense Association, which is a volunteer organization assisting Swedish authorities in crisis situations, Sweden’s import-reliant supermarkets will only last one week in the event of war or a power failure, Swedish national broadcaster SVT reported.
Civil Defense Association Chairman Sven Lindgren explained that Sweden had a low level of self-sufficiency, with around half of what is consumed actually being imported from fellow EU member states or countries from outside the EU.
“Sweden and Norway are the worst in Europe when it comes to agricultural production. But Norway, unlike Sweden, has extensive fish resources,” Sven Lindgren told Swedish news outlet The Local. For the sake of comparison, neighboring Finland can survive six months on its own stockpiles.
According to Lindgren, Sweden gradually got rid of its own reserve stocks in the 1990s, when the tension from the Cold War started to relent. Today, uncertainty seems to have returned to the world, which is why reserve stocks must be re-introduced in full scale, the Civil Defense Association argued.
Lindgren called on the Swedish authorities to step up efforts to decrease the country’s dramatic reliance on food imports. He cited plenty of farmland coupled with good climate, yet admitted that strict environmental demands and high taxes hampered farming.
However, Swedish Interior Minister Anders Ygeman countered that creating extensive food stockpiles was not a modern solution to the problem.
“Certain foods must indeed be stored, which we already do with grains crops. Other types of food are very difficult to store. Therefore, it’s more about national production and distribution,” Anders Ygeman told SVT.
Today, the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency recommends citizens to have individual food supplies for at least three days.