by Øyvind Ørbeck Sørheim, administrative director in The Royal Norwegian Society for Development​. The picture is from Sørheim's article from the same case hearing at the business committee at Stortinget.

Once again the government is suggesting that the support from the farming and agriculture department (LMD) to volunteer and nonprofit organisations is cut. It seems as though the government is ignoring the efforts made by these organisations to accomplish important agricultural politic goals that the government themselves have set. It is about recruiting to the agricultural sector, developing green businesses and increasing value generation based on natural resources.

The support from LMD has made it possible for Norges Vel to among other things develop new food products and business activities on farms in addition to stimulating the agricultural sector to take greater advantage of renewable resources.

During last years budget discussions, Stortinget gave a clear message to the government to continue the subsidy and not to turn it into project support from 2018. The answer from agricultural minister Jon Georg Dale is to dismantle the entire scheme. That seems like a rather arrogant way to follow up on a decision from the national assembly.

The reasoning from the government is that the scheme does not promote diversity among organisations. We have a hard time understanding this. In the latest years there have been more organisations joining and others have left. There are clear criteria for allocation and reporting. Through these the government assure that the subsidy goes to its intended purpose. 

If this opportunity is embraced well enough now is another case altogether. We are positive about a review of the agreement to ensure it is working functionally. What we will not be party to is that all the support is slashed by the stroke of a pen. It shows a lack seriousness towards the organisations that have done important work to create new opportunities around the country.

We are now putting our trust into that the negotiating parties in Stortinget secures the subsidy to the nonprofit and volunteer organisations and give us the opportunity to continue the development of Norwegian agriculture to a green and future oriented direction.