Agricultural technology provides new opportunities

Our agricultural mission is a large and important assignment for Innovation Norway, and we will provide Norwegian agriculture with help so that it is able to adapt. In 2021, more than NOK 900 million was made available by the Ministry of Agriculture and Food.

Both the authorities and consumers have high demands when it comes to animal welfare. Within cattle and dairy farming, loose housing operations must be in place by 2034. There are still more than 4000 herds of cattle in stanchion barns, and Innovation Norway plays an important role in helping these farms to restructure.

For many years, dairy farm projects have constituted the largest part of the investment projects by far. The farms that have not managed to restructure stand out in that they have less production and less of a resource base compared to those that have already restructured. We will therefore work to develop expertise services and support initiatives in order to spread knowledge and experience from the collaboration between the Innlandsfjøset project and Innovation Norway - a project that aims to find profitable solutions for those who want to build small loose housing barns.

Focusing on renewable energy

High energy prices contribute to a record high demand for support regarding renewable energy solutions. Many farms have high energy requirements related to building heating, and in relation to production machinery and equipment. Interest in producing one’s own renewable energy has been increasing for several years, and 2021 saw a new record in the number of applications submitted to Innovation Norway. 245 projects received support before the framework ran out early in the year.

The majority of the projects focused on farm heating systems, but there is an increasing proportion of solar systems. There is also great interest in biogas facilities, and several of these are now achieving satisfactory profitability. Many preliminary projects are now being completed, and a significant increase in demand for biogas is therefore expected in 2022. The support through the value creation programme for renewable energy and technology in agriculture triggers total investments in the order of NOK 500 million in renewable energy production.

Agricultural technology provides new opportunities

In line with global trends, Innovation Norway has recently seen a growth in the number of technology companies delivering innovative and sustainable products and solutions to the agricultural sector. Over the past three years, just over NOK 125 million in grants has been allocated to development projects that are mainly related to sensors, digitalisation, automation and robotics. This has triggered well over a quarter of a billion kroner in private capital.

Recognition of smart and green technology solutions for agriculture does not only come from national funding institutions. In 2021, two Norwegian agricultural technology companies received just over NOK 200 million from the EU’s Horizon Europe programme, in strong competition with almost 800 submitted projects from 30 European countries.

Hitting the mark with travel and tourism offers

The pandemic led to more Norwegians spending their holidays in their own home country, and there was greater demand for destinations with plenty of space and less risk of infection. Studies show that international trends within the field of nature-based travel and tourism emphasise sustainability elements and health-promoting activities. In addition, there is an increasing interest in local food and beverage products and experiences.

Most of the actors within the fields of agricultural and rural tourism offer tailor-made and authentic experiences for smaller groups of customers, and have good access to natural areas that facilitate various activities. These companies have largely succeeded in targeting the Norwegian holiday and leisure market, and many have experienced an increase in demand during the pandemic.

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