Hilde Halland

Senior Scientific Adviser

(+47) 957 98 237
hilde.halland@nibio.no

Place
Holt

Visiting address
Holtveien 66, 9269 Tromsø

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Abstract

The aim of the "Arctic as a food producing region" - project is to assess the potential for increased production and added value of food from the Arctic region, with the overarching aim of improving economic and social conditions of Arctic communities. This report is the output from the first phase of the project, providing a description of the main food production and examples of conditions for food production in the Arctic areas of the countries involved. This will form the basis for further analysis of opportunities, driving forces and barriers for further development of arctic food production, in the next phase of the project. The project has participation from Canada, Denmark, Greenland, Iceland, Norway and Russia, and is endorsed by the Arctic Council Sustainable Development Working Group (SDWG).

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Abstract

Although grass dominates most agricultural systems in the North Atlantic region (NAR), spring barley is the most important cereal and is used for animal feed and food and drink products. Recent changes in climate have resulted in warmer conditions across the NAR which have major implications for crop production. In this paper, we investigate the thermal requirement of spring barley in the region and use the results to examine the effects of recent trends in temperature and rainfall on barley cultivation, based on 11 regional meteorological sites. At these sites, between 1975 and 2015, we found significant warming trends for several months of the cropping season and significant trends for increases in the cropping season degree days (CSDD). In recent years, this has resulted in an increased proportion of years when the estimated minimum thermal requirement for barley has been met at sites above about 60°N. However, annual variations in CSDD are large and years still occur at these sites where this is insufficient. While warming could potentially allow an earlier start and later end to the cropping season, it is likely that high rainfall at maritime sites, and low rainfall at continental sites, will limit the ability of growers to benefit from this. Warming is considered to have been one of the main factors contributing to the large expansion of the area of barley cultivated in Iceland since the 1990s.

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Abstract

The status of cereal cultivation in Iceland, northern Norway, Faroe Islands, Orkney and Newfoundland has been studied in a project supported by the Northern Periphery and Arctic Programme (NPA). In Orkney, Iceland and northern Norway cereal cultivation is well established while the Faroe Islands are re-establishing, and Newfoundland is starting, cultivation. The project transfers knowledge between the regions and aims to increase the value of cereal products, indicate new innovative products and increase cultivation of cereals. In this report, the cereal value chain is described to inspire companies and initiators to identify new opportunities and create new jobs. Total cereal grain production in the five regions was about 38,000 tons in 2014 while imports were about 146,000 tons, just for Iceland, Orkney and Newfoundland. The population of the region is about 1.4 million and the annual number of visitors is above 2 million. Considerable amounts of cereal-based products are consumed in the regions. These include many different foods (bakery products, breakfast cereals, snacks, flour, porridges etc.) and beverages (e.g. beer and whisky) and offer many opportunities for using local cereals. Recent trends in the cereal food market are very conducive to the development of new products and greater local production within the project regions. Interest in local food and drinks is increasing and food producers need to respond to increasing demand from visitors. In all of the regions, barley is the most important cereal grown. Barley contains several health-enhancing nutritional components including β-glucan and antioxidants and, with growing awareness of the need for healthy eating, there is increased interest in it as a raw material for the food industry. Barley is also used for the production of malt which is a key ingredient for the production of beer and whisky. The number of microbreweries has grown and they are now found in remote regions. For breweries to distinguish themselves from competitors, product differentiation is becoming increasingly important and an attractive way of doing this is to use local ingredients (barley, malt and herbs). However, in order to utilise local barley for beverage production, it will usually be necessary to develop a local capacity for malting.