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Finland well-prepared for eventual crises, stockpile chief says

In terms of food and fuel, the country's preparedness is "exceptionally good," according to the National Emergency Supply Agency's director.

File photo of a National Emergency Supply Agency storage facility. Image: Huoltovarmuuskeskus

Amid the backdrop of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, Finland's National Emergency Supply Agency (Nesa) is making preparations by shoring up supplies, according to the agency's director, Jaakko Pekki.

He told Yle on Tuesday that Finland was particularly prepared in terms of food production, as the country produces about 80 percent of food that is consumed.

"People in Finland eat an exceptional amount of domestic food, which is a good thing, in terms of preparedness. We are not that dependent on other countries," Pekki explained.

"In order to be able to continue to produce food domestically, we store, for example raw materials for fertiliser, as well as grains which can be used to grow food in a crisis situation," he said, adding that the amount of stored grain corresponds to about six months' worth of normal consumption.

Finland's fuel stockpile situation is "exceptionally good," according to Pekki.

Oil prices have skyrocketed since Russia's attack, and if sanctions further restrict the country's ability to export petroleum products, prices will continue to rise. Pekki said Finland's fuel stockpile is equivalent to five months of normal use and that alternate sources of oil and fuel were being sought elsewhere.

"The emergency supplies are not meant to last 10 years," he said, noting that the stockpiles are meant to serve as a buffer while other sources for goods are arranged.

Finland's supply of pharmaceuticals is also very good, Pekki said.

"Importers or manufacturers of medicines in Finland are obligated to maintain a certain amount for the emergency supply," he explained, adding that depending on the medication, the pharmaceutical products in the stockpile are equivalent to 3-10 months of normal consumption.

The stockpile agency director also said that it was important for people to ensure they are also prepared for exceptional circumstances.

"There have been minor crises in the past, like ones related to payment systems or weather conditions. People have also been unable to go to the shop because they had Covid. This is why it is a good idea to keep a supply of needed items at home that would last 72 hours," Pekki recommended.