Cabbage grown in Ostrobothnia in Finland has found its way across the Kvarken Strait to Westrobothnia in Sweden. The farmer Tony Granholm from Petsmo, Finland and the refiner Grönsaksfabriken AB, with Magnus Conradzon at the helm, are both very pleased with this cooperation. The transport distance is a short one, and the customers in Umeå, Sweden, can now enjoy if not absolutely local, then at least locally produced and good cabbage all the year round.
Tony Granholm grows and sells cabbage to Sweden via his company Granholms Grönsaker Ab, with its headquarters at Petsmo in the outskirts of Vaasa. He took the initiative for cooperation which has run smoothly and will be expanded.
The cooperation between Grönsaksfabriken and Granholm started at the grassroot level whereafter the project E12 Atlantica Transport was involved in the case. The project engages in various pilot activities together with regional companies in order to highlight the shortcomings and possibilities in the cross-border transport system between Finland and Sweden.
– We have always strived at choosing local foods whenever possible and about a year ago we decided to focus on this even more, explains Magnus Conradzon, CEO at Grönsaksfabriken AB in Umeå. As regards cabbage, Ostrobothnia is self-sufficient to a considerably higher degree than we on this side of the Kvarken Strait, and earlier we used to import cabbage from Germany during the winter season and also transported quite a lot from southern Sweden, making plenty of food miles.
A whole new world opened up when Tony Granhom, a farmer from Petsmo in Ostrobothnia, took the initiative to contact Grönsaksfabriken last year, to sound if there was interest in Ostrobothnian cabbage on the Swedish side – and indeed there was.
– In our world, Ostrobothnia is very close. The distance between our two regions is 100 kilometres – twelve times less than to the south of Sweden, and besides, there are nisches in the Finnish market that we, in turn, can fill up with other products. In that way goods travel in both directions which is very good, Magnus says.
Magnus Conradzon, CEO at Grönsaksfabriken AB in Umeå, Sweden, is pleased to be able to import cabbage from Ostrobothnia, Finland instead of Germany.
Cooperation with Grönsaksfabriken has yielded positive effects also for Tony Granholm.
– Here in Ostrobothnia we have a surplus of cabbage which influences the pricing. By selling to Sweden we can cut back this surplus and besides, the freight distance to Umeå is considerably shorter than to southern Finland, Tony explains.
After a couple of preliminary deliveries, the two companies signed a year-round supply contract and about 1.5 tonnes of cabbage travels from Petsmo to Umeå every week.
– Our companies are at the same level of certification so the only problem we had to solve involved packagings which fall under stricter environmental regulations in Sweden, Tony explains. But once that was sorted everything has been running smoothly and we now aim at increasing the range of produce to include also other vegetables from other farmers here in Ostrobothnia.
The demand for cabbage is larger than the supply in Westrobothnia while it is exactly the other way round in Ostrobothnia. Compared with cabbage imported from Germany, the Ostrobothnian cabbage can be regarded as a lot more locally produced.
With the help of E12 Atlantica Transport, the two companies have arranged meetings with other farmers to sound the situation, the market and the existence of the required networks.
– We have now laid the foundation but everything is still very much in its infancy, Magnus believes. The range of produce imported from Ostrobothnia will increase and it will benefit us both as regards the environment and the quality of the produce. The produce from Ostrobothnia is, perhaps, not ”local” in the strictest sense of the word but certainly produced locally, close by. The name is not the most important issue here but, instead, the information given to customers about the origin of the produce. Transparency is crucial and cultivation technique in Finland resembles the Swedish one a lot more than that in Germany, for instance, Magnus adds.
Tony and he look forward to increasing their cooperation and having a wider trade of produce between the regions.
– The Swedish language is another unifying factor and so far, everything has run perfectly, Tony concludes.
Text: Anna Sand
Photo: Anna Sand and Grönsaksfabriken Ab
E12 Atlantica Transport – The project is a cross-border cooperation between partners in Finland, Sweden and Norway along the E12, focusing on development of a functional multi-modal transport route for goods and passengers, joint strategies for cross-border planning and future cooperation structures.
E12 Atlantica Transport partners
Kvarken Council (Lead part, FI), MidtSkandia (NO), Blå Vägen (SE) Region Västerbotten (SE), Regional Council of Ostrobothnia (FI), Nordland fylkeskommune (NO) Vaasa Regional Development Company VASEK (FI), Umeå Municipality (SE), Vännäs Municipality (SE), Vindeln Municipality (SE), Lycksele Municipality (SE), Storuman Municipality (SE), Infrastruktur i Umeå AB INAB (SE), Rana Utviklingsselskap AS (NO), Rana Municipality (NO), Polarsirkeln lufthavnutvickling (NO), Port of Mo i Rana (NO), Mo Industripark AS (NO), Alstahaug havnevesen KF (NO), Helgeland Havn IKS (NO)