Finland imports higher agri-food products in 2021
The value of imported agri-food products totalled EUR 5.5 billion in 2021, according to the statistics of the Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke).
The value of imports increased by more than 4% during the previous year. The value of exports was roughly EUR 1.8 billion, up by 3% from 2020, said Luke in a press release on Monday.
In imports, Finland’s key partners were the Netherlands, Germany, Sweden and Spain.
The value of agri-food products imported from the Netherlands totalled EUR 857 million. Imports mainly consisted of different technical fats and oils (EUR 243 million). In addition, large volumes of propagating material for horticultural crops (e.g. seeds and seedlings), animal fats, sugar confectionery, chocolate, feed and beverages were imported from the Netherlands.
The value of agri-food products imported from Germany totalled EUR 665 million, consisting mostly of bakery products, feed and cheeses.
The value of imports from Sweden totalled EUR 595 million, consisting of bakery products, sugar confectionery and processed food products.
Furthermore, imports from Spain totalled EUR 330 million, mainly comprising fruit, vegetables and alcoholic beverages.
The value of agri-food products imported from Russia was roughly EUR 73 million in 2021. The most important products included feed and feed material, with the value of their imports being EUR 56 million. In addition, the value of frozen vegetables, mushrooms and berries imported from Russia was EUR 8 million, that of alcoholic beverages was roughly EUR 3.4 million, that of reindeer meat totalled EUR 1.7 million, and that of maize amounted to EUR 0.5 million.
“Between 2020 and 2021, the value of imports from Russia increased by EUR 18 million (+33%). Over a ten-year period, the value of imports from Russia has increased nearly fourfold,” said Irene Rosokivi, senior statistician at Luke.
Norway was another important partner, from where fresh whole salmon was imported into Finland at a total value of EUR 253 million.
Less than half this volume (20.5 million kilos) remained in Finland, while the remaining 25.2 million kilos were delivered to other parts of Europe. The value of transiting Norwegian salmon through Finland was EUR 130 million in 2021, accounting for 74% of the total value of fish products exported for human consumption.
“Measured by the value of products, key export countries for salmon were Estonia, Lithuania, France and Poland,” said Pentti Moilanen, senior statistician at Luke.
Agri-food products were mostly exported to Sweden, Estonia, China, Germany and Russia.
The value of exports to Sweden totalled EUR 371 million. Key products exported to Sweden were sugar confectionery, chocolate, bakery products, yoghurt and butter. The value of exports to Estonia was EUR 152 million, consisting mostly of alcoholic beverages, bakery products, sugar confectionery and processed food products. Oats played an important part in exports to Germany, with their export value being nearly EUR 50 million. In addition, bakery products and alcoholic beverages, among others, were exported to Germany.
The value of agri-food products exported to Russia totalled EUR 108 million. The export of feed amounted to EUR 31 million. Other items exported to Russia included different food products, sugar confectionery and bakery products. The food import bans imposed by the EU on Russia in 2014 have effectively curbed any increase in exports to Russia.
During the last five years, the value of exports to China has more than tripled, increasing from EUR 43 million in 2017 to nearly EUR 150 million in 2021.
The most rapid growth took place between 2019 and 2020, when exports increased by more than EUR 56 million. Between 2020 and 2021, the value of exports to China increased by EUR 4 million (+3%). Exports to China are dominated by milk and whey powder and pork, accounting for 95% of total exports to China.
Finland has invested in the exports of alcoholic products, which has also been reflected in export figures in recent years. The value of exported alcoholic beverages increased steadily before 2020, while it fell by more than a quarter during the first year of the coronavirus. In 2021, the value of exported alcoholic beverages recovered to EUR 102 million, being roughly 21% lower than in 2020.
In 2021, the value of cereal exports was less than EUR 100 million, down by 30% from 2020. This mainly resulted from low yields in the summer of 2021. Exports of wheat and barley came nearly to a standstill in the autumn, having been at a normal level during the first half of the year. Only the exports of oats remained at the previous year’s level, at 366 million kilos. The export of wheat totalled 36 million kilos, and that of barley 71 million kilos.
While only small volumes of cereals are usually imported into Finland, fodder cereals especially were imported in 2021 due to low domestic yields. The value of barley and maize imports totalled EUR 7 million each.