Farmers’ lobby loses members

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One of Norway’s most traditionally powerful lobbying organizations, the farmers’ group Norges Bondelag, has reported a decline in membership for the first time in several years. That hasn’t hindered record turnout at an international exposition in Germany, however.

Agriculture Minister Lars Peder Brekk (second from right) and Fisheries Minister Lisbeth Berg-Hansen were among those served pancakes with jam and brown cheese at an annual food and farming conference in Berlin over the weekend. Transport Secretary Magnhild Meltveit Kleppa, who, like Brekk, is from the farmer-friendly Center Party, was also in Berlin to promote Norwegian food and tourism. At left, farmers' leader Nils T Bjørke. PHOTO: Bondelaget

Bondelaget, best known for pressing the government for huge subsidies and policies to protect Norwegian agriculture, had seen membership rise for seven years in a row to around 62,000 members . Last year, however, membership fell by around 600 members, reported newspaper Aftenposten last week.

Farmers’ leader Nils T Bjørke attributed the decline to “frustration” among farmers. The declines were largest in the counties of Nord-Trøndelag, Nordland and Finnmark. Membership rose, however, in Hordaland on the west coast, Buskerud, Østfold and Vestfold.

Bondelag members were out in full force over the weekend, along with Norway’s government ministers for agriculture, fishing and transportation, at the annual International Grüne Woche in Berlin, one of the world’s largest expositions for food and agriculture.

Visitors were treated to such items as moose burgers and pancakes with brown cheese as around 60 Norwegian firms promoted Norwegian products at the event, which runs through the week.

Views and News staff