Cereals is a generic term for grains and are among our most common and important raw materials for food. The major cereals in the EU are wheat, maize and barley, which constitute about 90% of the total harvest. Rice is grown mainly in Asian countries, which account for 92% of the world's total production. Sugar is produced primarily from sugar beet and sugar cane. Sugar beet is grown in Sweden and the EU, among other places, while sugar cane is grown in warmer climates such as Brazil, India and Mexico.
Cereal products have a low environmental impact compared with meat and fish, in which the dominant greenhouse gases are carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide resulting from the use of fossil energy, transport, etc. and when nitrogen is put into the ground and from production of mineral fertilisers. Rice is grown primarily in water-covered, paddy fields that are either irrigated or supplied with rain water. Rice cultivation emits large amounts of methane gas and therefore has about three times as much climate impact as cereals.
In conventional farming of cereals and sugar, plant protection products are used. Plant protection products are used to protect plants and plant products against fungus attack, insects or competing plants. The use of plant protection products is regulated by common EU regulations. From 1 January 2014, all professional growers throughout the EU must apply Integrated Pest Management (IPM). The aim is to reduce reliance on chemical plant protection products.
Regarding the production of goods in low-wage countries, there is a risk of poor working conditions in cultivation. This applies to products such as sugar (from sugar cane) and rice, which are imported into Sweden. Contracting authorities can demand that suppliers ensure that basic working conditions are met.
Subject of procurement
Sustainable production of cereals and sugar