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Monday's papers: Easing food inflation, wind energy's promise and Finland's pest problem

Finland's booming wind power sector could help fund the welfare state for decades, according to Fingrid's CEO.

Rat peeking through a hole on a rock.
Finland's milder winters could soon make rat populations more difficult to manage. Image: Credit: David Chapman / Alamy Stock Photo
Yle News

"Good news for consumers," farmers' union newspaper Maaseudun Tulevaisuus writes on Monday, noting that food prices finally began to fall last month and should continue to do so throughout the rest of the year.

Figures provided by the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) suggest that increased trading and a spike in the supply of agricultural commodities has pushed down prices globally, including in Finland, where prices had been seeing double-digit rises.

In April, the Food Price Index (FFPI) - which measures the monthly change in international prices of vegetable oil, cereal, dairy, sugar and meat products - showed a 2.6 percent decrease from April and a 22.1 percent decrease from its all-time high in March 2022.

May's decline was largely due to a significant fall in the price of vegetable oils, cereals and dairy products, but was partly offset by increases in the prices of sugar and meat.

MT tells its readers that while Finland's grain harvest is looking slightly weaker this year, improved global supply and a drop in fertiliser prices have also alleviated the price of grain products in Finnish supermarkets, with the declining trend likely to continue towards the end of the year.

Cheap and clean energy

Economically viable, green energy — particularly wind power — could be the Finnish economy's holy grail in the period of green transition, according to Fingrid's CEO Jukka Ruusunen.

Speaking to newspaper Helsingin Sanomat, the head of the Finnish power grid operator said that the fast development of wind energy technology is the best thing that has happened to the country's economy in decades.

Low prices and secure supply have made Finnish wind power among the most competitive in the global market, attracting international investments worth about 90 billion euros, according to the Confederation of Finnish Industries (EK).

"It is an unprecedented amount," HS writes, adding that an additional five million euros in investments are also in the pipeline.

Seasonal temperature fluctuations create strong winds in Finland, according to the paper.

The country is also sparsely populated so there is plenty of space on which to build wind power stations. This is the ace up Finland's sleeve compared to central Europe, which is more densely-populated, HS writes.

The benefits of a booming wind power sector to the economy could help support funding of the Finnish welfare system for decades to come, Ruusunen says.

"If this opportunity is not missed in the House of the Estates, that is," Ruusunen adds, referring to the ongoing government negotiations which have just entered their sixth week.

A future rat problem

Milder winters could mean that Finland will soon be dealing with a serious rat problem, according to Tampere-based Aamulehti.

Most rats die during Finland's cold winters, evolution biologist at the University of Helsinki Tuomas Aivelo explains, but he warns that global warming could help larger populations survive into spring.

If there are more rats in the spring, their numbers will increase rapidly as they start to reproduce. They also benefit from the lack of snow, as it is easier to move around and source food on snow-free ground, Aamulehti notes.

Rats are already common across Finland from the southernmost regions all the way up north, in the area of Oulu.

"The more people there are, the more likely there are to be rats. That's why rats are particularly abundant in big cities," Aivelo said, adding that so far Finland has managed to keep populations under control once a peak has been observed.

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