Agriculture. – Of the population in 1920, 36.8% were devoted to agriculture, fishing and forestry; 27.4% of the population was employed in industries; 11.1% were dedicated to trade; 9.1% to housework; 8.6% to merchant navy and transport.
According to Smber, the total area of cultivated land is 778,768 hectares (equal to 2.5% of the total surface), planted with crops and artificial lawns. To this must be added 22,036 hectares of natural meadows. The arable land, largely marshy, is estimated at 613,295 hectares. Of these, 73,257 hectares were cultivated between 1918 and 1929 (which are the last two years for which data are given), but a large part of this land was already natural grass.
The cultivated area and the main products are shown in the following table (1931):
The cultivation of edible vegetables and herbs and of turnips occupied 33,353 hectares; cereals and legumes were cultivated on 176,114 hectares with a production of 263,208 tons, figures which, compared to the corresponding ones for fodder, demonstrate the predominance of livestock farming and the dairy industry over the cultivation of wheat. This has declined since 1870, due to the import of cheaper grain from Russia and America. Currently, 60% of the wheat consumed is imported, while up to 1850, 30% was imported. Barley is the most important cereal in mountain valleys and in the northernmost regions; 33% of consumption is imported. Rye, which is the most used cereal for bread making, is grown in the S. where it ripens in winter; but 98% cares about it.
Forage plants occupy 60% of the cultivated area and provide the main crop. The strong imbalance in the import of fodder, which is around 190,000 tons, provides another indication of the importance of livestock farming, especially for the production of milk and cheese. Part of the meat consumed is also important. The summer pastures in the birch forests and in the high regions were used for alpine huts (sæter), but this practice is on the decline. The market is regulated by the exchanges of eggs, milk and pigs. The farmers are all free owners, but due to the crisis that began towards the end of 1929 they find themselves quite seriously indebted. Farms are generally small: 12% are between 5 and 10 hectares; 25%, from 2 to 5 hectares; 42%, from 0.5 to 2 hectares. The owners of the latter category have to work in the woods during the winter.
Forestry. – Of the total area of 76,288 sq km. covered by productive woods, fir occupies 52%, pine 28%. The total volume is estimated at 322.6 million cubic meters. Forestry is based on spontaneous renewal. In the past large areas were cleared by unconsciously cutting down trees, which is now prohibited. The killing and transport take place from September to April. Each year 2.37 million dozen logs are flowed and in 1929 5.26 million cubic meters were flowed. The annual product is 1.34 cubic meters. per hectare.
80% of the woods, and among these the most valuable, are privately owned, of which 65% are foresters, 15% belong to timber traders, etc.
Fishing. – Fishing is the main economic resource and the main food in western and northern Norway. In the past the coastal dwellers were farmers and fishermen at the same time, but fishermen are now forming a separate class as a result of the introduction of new and more rational fishing methods. This is exercised above all along the coasts and largely by means of small boats: vaporettos with bridges and motor boats without bridges. In 1930 these boats were a total of 72,377. The most important fisheries are cod and herring. In 1930 the following values were reached: cod: 278,258 tons. for a value of 41 million crowns (the fish is salted and dried on the rocks, or it is left to dry in the wind; oil and eggs are used as bait); herring: hl. 6,420,767 for a value of 30.8 million crowns. Fishing for a species of sardine (main object of the canned fish industry), mackerel, salmon, shrimp, etc., represented in the same year a value of 18 million crowns. The overall result was tons. 994,496 for 89.9 million crowns. The whale fishing, which has its center in the cities of Vestfold, near Oslofiord, and its hunting camp in the Antarctic seas, produced in 1931 a value of 153 million crowns; but the prices of oil, meat and animal manure vary greatly.
The hunt for seals, polar bears and polar foxes is carried out in the White Sea and also along the coasts of Greenland.
Minerals. – Norway lacks coal, but a certain amount is mined in Spitzbergen. It is estimated that there are approximately 367 million tons of relatively superficial iron ore deposits, containing approximately 35% of iron; the major plants are those of the Sydvaranger. But the main mining product is iron pyrite which is mined in Sulitjelma and Løkken. In 1930 the mining production was the following. Iron pyrite: tonn. 730-951; iron ore: tons 772,423; silver: tons 14,615. Only iron ore and sulfur are exported.
Industries. – In practice, all industries are powered by water energy, which is also used extensively (46% of the total) for the production of electricity. The total usable energy is estimated at 9.2 million kW. Currently 1.2 million are used, of which 42% is absorbed by the electrochemical and electrometallurgical industries. In some places on the west coast, oceanic cargo steamers can embark directly from the manufacturing factories, because the water falls directly into the fiord: so in Sauda, Tysse, Fykanå, etc. Nitrates are obtained from atmospheric nitrogen in Rjukan and Eidanger (Norsk Hydro Company). In 1930 there were the following productions: calcium nitrate, tonn. 450,881; cyanamide, tonn. 49,796; carbide, tonn. 68.404. Other rurono products: superphosphate, nitric acid,
The electrometallurgical industry produced, also in 1930, 27,357 tons. aluminum, mostly working with raw material (Heyanger, Tyssedal, Eydehavn); tons 122,686 of ferroalloys and raw zinc. The woods feed large industries of wood pulp, cellulose and paper. In 1930 these industries produced 357.5 million crowns. The production of the wet mechanical pulp was one million tons; that of dry sulphite and cellulose sulphate, totaling 421,779 tons. Norway’s largest customer for these products is England, followed by the United States and France. Printing paper and newsprint (ton. 224.800), writing and wrapping paper, cardboard (ton. 159.403) are exported all over the world. The largest paper mill is in Borregård (Sarpsborg, E. dell ‘
The canned food industry has its center in Stavanger; important products are also preserved herring, fish and whale oil. The iron and steel industries and yards for metal shipbuilding (mostly refitting yards) work mainly for internal consumption. The textile industries, the factories of drapes and shoes are not enough to cover domestic consumption, which, as far as fabrics are concerned, is covered only to the extent of 50%. The breweries, margarine and tobacco factories make up for consumption, while the mills do not have sufficient grinding capacity as needed. 24% of the milling industry is centralized in Oslo. In Norwegian industries, especially mining, electrochemical and electrometallurgical ones, a lot of foreign capital is invested. In 1920 on the 28th,
Commerce. – In proportion to the population, Norway has considerable trade, because many of the main branches of industry, such as forestry, mining, hydroelectric industries, are based on export and import demand for foodstuffs, textiles and commodity is strong. Of the imports, 41% is made up of consumer items; about 59%, from raw materials for industries.
The table below shows the distribution of imports and exports in some important lines of business in 1930 (in millions of crowns).
77% of exports are made up of ready-to-eat goods. Wood and its products constitute the main article; other important exports are those supplied by the electrochemical and metallurgical industries, chemical fertilizer, aluminum, ferroalloys, iron ore, cement, paving stone. Exports of agricultural products consist of condensed milk, cheese, potatoes, berries and various skins. Foodstuffs and luxury items occupy the first place among consumer products. The second important group is made up of cereals, flour, fruit, copra, meat, lard, cheese, etc., together with clothes, shoes, wool, cotton and silk products. The import of goods destined for subsequent processing slightly exceeds 50% of total imports. L’
The most active trade is that with Great Britain (about 25%), with Germany (about 20%) and with the United States (about 10%); followed by Sweden, Denmark, Holland, France and Russia; Italy is only 1.8% of the total. The largest shopping center without comparison is Oslo, through which 50% of imports and about 20% of exports pass.