Angry farmers also sow internal conflict

Norwegian farmers drove their tractors right up to the Parliament in Oslo on Tuesday, furious that the government offered them less than half the amount of taxpayer support and subsidy they’d demanded. Leaders of their own agricultural cooperatives, meanwhile, are pocketing multi-million-kroner salaries and bonuses, raising questions about internal disparity and conflict. The farmers can […]

State challenges powerful grocers

Debate has swirled for years over why grocery store prices are so much higher in Norway than most anywhere else. After lots of studies and investigations, the Norwegian Competition Authority mounted an offensive strike this week against the country’s three major grocery store chains, but with massive fines for allegedly illegal pricing cooperation that surprised and […]

Farmers accepted state subsidy offer

Norway’s two largest farmers’ organizations have opted to accept NOK 1.1 billion in financial assistance from the state this year, much less than the NOK 1.83 billion they’d initially demanded. They also agreed to go along with programs aimed at preventing over-production. The agreement marks the first time that the farmers have come to terms […]

Grocery chains under probe

Norway’s three major grocery store conglomerates have long been suspected of playing a major role in keeping food prices high. Competition authorities finally decided to pay them an unexpected visit last month, when they seized large amounts of data and now are looking for signs of illegal price-setting. The raids, reported by newspaper Aftenposten, were […]

State offers half of farmers’ demands

Lobbyists for Norwegian farmers were fuming on Friday after the government responded to their demand for another NOK 1.8 billion in state subsidy and protection with an offer equal to around NOK 1 billion. While farmers complained the government wasn’t taking them seriously, state officials noted their offer was much higher than last year’s, and […]

Farmers demand more subsidies

Their most supportive political party (Senterpartiet, Sp) is mired in national shame and scandal but that hasn’t stopped Norway’s powerful farmers’ lobby from demanding NOK 1.8 billion in additional taxpayer funding for next year. The support would once again come in the form of subsidies and tariff protection from imported agricultural products. The farmers formally turned […]

Center Party wants to reverse sugar tax hike

Taxes on sugar and sugar products were boosted by 83 percent on January 1, and by 42.3 percent on soft drinks and other alcohol-free drinks. The idea was to reduce consumption of sugar, but now some politicians worry the higher taxes will simply encourage more Norwegians to do their shopping in neighbouring Sweden. “We can […]

Bribery indictments hit Tine, Tetra Pak

A long-time purchasing director for Norway’s dominant dairy cooperative, Tine, has been indicted on charges he knowingly accepted bribes and then tried to hide it from the rest of Tine’s management. He now must defend himself against charges of aggravated corruption. An official of the packaging firm Tetra Pak Norge, which supplies drink cartons to […]

Farmers face far more inspections

Filth and animal neglect found at a series of farms in Rogaland, southwestern Norway, were branded as “completely unacceptable” by Agriculture Minister Jon Georg Dale after a meeting with farmers’ representatives. They admitted to “attitude problems” within the industry and now face far more frequent inspections nationwide. Lars Petter Bartnes, leader of the powerful national […]

Dairy forced to cut costs

Tine, the large Norwegian dairy cooperative that acts as “market regulator” and effectively sets prices, has been hit by lower milk sales and suspension of state support for exports. Tine thus needs to save half a billion kroner and may need to lay off staff. The dairy dominates the market in Norway, commanding around 80 […]