Agricultural products and raw materials for food industries are increasingly being traded across national borders. Import and export statistics of Finland, related to food and its raw materials, were collected and analysed for the period 1961 to 2007. Export transfers from Finland contained mainly grains, while sugar, coffee and fruits, but also grains and soya were imported. Both imports and exports grew from 1961 to 2007. We converted the tons traded across country borders into estimates of the land area required for agricultural production at the source. A long term general trend was detected in the difference between imports and exports. The net deficit between imports and exports systematically, first, decreased (1961-1990), then increased (1991-2007). However, the dominance of imports by 2007 was estimated at no larger than approximately 233,000 ha, in comparison to 2.3 million ha of Finland in active farming. Land use pressure abroad must be taken into consideration when assessing the environmental impacts of food consumption on the environment. Land area related to agricultural trade has been affected by globalising markets, changing life styles, improving agricultural yields worldwide and changing agricultural policies.
- international trade
- land use