The fifth study tour has been in Norway from 9th to 13th April 2018.
The groups of travellers discovered that Norwegian farmers have a unique bargaining power. Every year they discuss subsidies with the government. They negotiate how much and how to use them. And they negotiate prices. You find this nowhere else in the world.
The beneficiaries visited the Norwegian Agricultural Cooperatives (the umbrella of agri-coops), and listened to the Farmers’ Union and the Smallholder Union. They learned about Green Care, Inn pa tunet, the Ambulant team, visited Ivan Lund’ farm. They also went to NorgesVel and found out about their projects, heard about farmers’ markets; visited TINE, the largest producer, distributor and exporter of dairy products (11.400 owners- small farmers), collecting 95% of the milk in the country, cow and goat.
“Discussions”, the word heard most often. Norway is democracy in practice, and BOND has a lot to learn in terms of discussion platforms and processes for building powerful organisations.
The tour included a visit to a pig breeding cooperative Norsvin, the second largest swine genetic company in the world, and to a cattle breeding cooperative GENO: “everything you always wanted to know about the Norwegian Red…”, the fact that Norway is amongst the lowest user of antibiotics in the world, that there is no LA-MRSA. And finally they visited Atlungstd distillery museum to taste the famous Aquavit.
The tour had 10 representatives: Ivan from Croatia, Lucia and Jan from Slovakia, Peter and Andrea from Hungary, Violetta from Poland, Dimitar from Macedonia, Alexandra from the Netherlands, Laura from Portugal, and Anna from Czech Republic. Total 6 women, 4 men.
There was an interpreter for one day and the other days the group was helped by our Hungarian representative. Gaetano was with us, filming; and Alex Franklin, Katrin Marquardt, and Angela Hilmi on the Coventry University side.