COPENHAGAN, DENMARK — The Norwegian government on June 25 signed a deal to begin stockpiling grain, saying the COVID-19 pandemic, a war in Europe and climate change have made it necessary, the Associated Press reported.

The deal to store 30,000 tonnes of grain was signed by Geir Pollestad, Norway’s agriculture and food minister, and four private companies. The grain, which will belong to the Norwegian government, will be stored by the companies in facilities across the country, according to the Associated Press report.

Speaking with Norwegian broadcaster NRK, Pollestad said, “the building up of a contingency stock of food grains is about being prepared for the unthinkable.” He said the goal is to have 82,500 tonnes of grain in storage by the end of the decade, “enough for three months consumption” in the event of a crisis.

After Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, Norway established a commission to evaluate its emergency preparedness systems and one of the conclusions reached was it would be prudent to stockpile grain.

Norway already houses the Global Seed Vault, which contains more than 1 million samples of seeds deposited by gene banks and organizations around the world to provide food security in the event of a natural or man-made disaster.

The country itself does not produce much grain, with a little over 1 million tonnes harvested per year and roughly the same amount imported per year to feed its 5.4 million people, according to the Foreign Agricultural Service of the US Department of Agriculture.