Minced meat on a frying pan in Helsinki on 11 January 2023. The Finnish government is unlikely to finalise its climate food programme by the end of the electoral term due to disagreements about the extent to which the public should be encouraged to reduce meat consumption, says Minister of Agriculture and Forestry Antti Kurvinen (Centre). (Markku Ulander – Lehtikuva)

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MINISTER of Agriculture and Forestry Antti Kurvinen (Centre) has dashed cold water on hopes that the government could finalise its so-called climate food programme by the end of the electoral term.

Kurvinen on Wednesday stated on YLE A-studio that the programme has taken on “almost mystical proportions” and is unlikely to be finalised due to pronounced differences of view between the five ruling parties.

“The issue hinges on our coalition partners. They got the document in December, and it didn’t satisfy them,” he said.

The Finnish government agreed four years ago to devise a climate food programme to both reduce the climate footprint of food and improve public understanding of food production. YLE reported last week that the latest draft states simply that meat consumption should be reduced, whereas one of the earlier ones, according to media reports, laid down the more definitive target of reducing meat consumption by 33 per cent by 2030.

The latest draft was drawn up at the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. Kurvinen on Wednesday argued to the public broadcaster that the programme was intended first and foremost as a vision.

“I won’t be making any kind of proposals that give people a figure for what meat they should eat,” he proclaimed.

The Green League would be content with the less unequivocal wording, according to YLE.

“I personally think that it’d be important that we have this kind of a clear vision on paper,” Atte Harjanne, the chairperson of the Green Parliamentary Group, commented to the Finnish public broadcaster on Wednesday.

The parliamentary elections will take place on 2 April.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT

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