Crown Prince Haakon is currently on a special journey in southern Norway. The goal is to learn more about how the coronavirus pandemic has affected various Norwegian industries and the Norwegian people. The journey started in Østfold on Tuesday, when the Crown Prince visited a virus test station. On Wednesday, the journey continued to Vestfold and Telemark. Agriculture is important for this areas and the coronavirus pandemic has had major consequences.
Crown Prince Haakon arrived in Sandefjord on board the Royal Yacht and from Sandefjord harbour the trip took him to Bjertnæs & Hoel vegetable packing plant at Borgeskogen. The Crown Prince was informed about the new vegetable packing plant that opened in June 2020. The family business has employees from several countries but, in March, the borders closed and the company had to replace half the workforce.
Crown Prince Haakon then visited two farms in Vestfold. The tour provided an insight into the challenges during the pandemic and the efforts that are being made to ensure safe and good quality food for consumers. The visit ended in the garden at the grand farm of Vølen, where Crown Prince Haakon met several representatives of the agricultural industry in Vestfold and Telemark.
His Royal Highness said: “My visit here has been very exciting. I am impressed with how the industry dared to invest, even though much was uncertain in March and April. They managed to solve the challenges along the way, and now fortunately it seems as if the sale of many products has gone well. But we must take into account that not everyone in the industry may have benefited”.
After the visits to Stokke, the Crown Prince returned to the Royal Yacht, before leaving and heading south. The Crown Prince arrived in Flekkefjord on Thursday. The Crown Prince met with people who work in media and communication. In the local cultural centre, the Crown Prince had a meeting with communication experts from the police, hospitals, universities, media and municipalities who spoke about the need to provide the population with necessary information. The newspaper`s “Agder”, “Fædrelandsvennen” and the TV-channel NRK were represented in the conversation with the Crown Prince.
Crown Prince Haakon said: “My experience is that the media has provided very good information and played an important role in this period, so that it should go as well as it could when the pandemic was a fact. It is also the role of the press to ask critical questions. I feel that they have achieved that balance well”.
Crown Prince Haakon also visited the office`s of the local newspaper “Flekkefjords Tidende”. His Royal Highness was shown around the editorial office where he got to see how the local newspaper is produced in paper and online. On Tuesday next week Crown Prince Haakon continues the visit to the western part of Norway.