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Agriculture, Fisheries and Rural Life: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow, 13 November 2019

Laps ja vanem koos õunu pesemas.

We are reaching the final stretch of drawing up the development plan that will guide Estonia’s agriculture and fisheries sector until the year 2030.

This process has required the time and attention of many people. During this conference, we wish to sum up this substantial work and show our appreciation to all those who have contributed to the completion of the development plan.

During the conference, we will also discuss the effect being an EU Member State has had on Estonia’s agriculture, fisheries, food industry and rural life, as well as what the food on our tables may look like in the future.



The conference will be broadcast live on YouTube.


Practical information

Attendance is by invitation only.

  • Time: Wednesday, 13 November 2019.
  • Place: Swissôtel Tallinn, Tornimäe 3.
  • Working language: Estonian. Estonian-English-Estonian interpretation offered by the organisers.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at

Organisers: Ministry of Rural Affairs in cooperation with the Ministry of the Environment, Estonian Agricultural Research Centre and European Commission.

The conference is financed from the Estonian Rural Development Plan 2014–2020.

Agenda and speakers


Conference opening

Time Title/Description
09:00–09:45 Registration and morning coffee
09:45–10:00 Conference introduction by the moderator
Hede Kerstin Luik (moderator)
10:00–10:20 Opening speeches
Mart Järvik (Minister of Rural Affairs)
Marku Lamp (Ministry of the Environment, Deputy Secretary General)
10:20–11:00 Development and Future of Agriculture in the EU
Prof. dr Rudolf Mögele

Part I: 15 years in the European Union

Time Title/Description
11:00–11:05 Fragments of EU 15 (video)
11:05–11:30 Previous 15 years of agriculture, fisheries and rural life
Toomas Kevvai (Ministry of Rural Affairs, Deputy Secretary General for Food Safety, Research and Development)
Siim Tiidemann (Ministry of Rural Affairs, Deputy Secretary General for Fisheries Policy and Foreign Affairs)
Marko Gorban (Ministry of Rural Affairs, Deputy Secretary General for Agricultural and Rural Life Policies)
11:30–12:00 Story of my enterprise
Mart Undrest (Estofish)
Tõnu Post (Kõljala Agricultural OÜ)
Veljo Ipits (Salvest AS)
12:00–13:00 Lunch

Part II: Trends and influencers of food production

Time Title/Description
13:00–13:25 Agricultural and Fisheries Development Plan 2030
Illar Lemetti (Secretary General of the Ministry of Rural Affairs)
Meelis Münt (Secretary General of the Ministry of the Environment)
13:25–13:45 Entrepreneurs' view on the development of the agro-food sector until 2030
Roomet Sõrmus (Estonian Chamber of Agriculture and Commerce)
13:45–14:05 Bioeconomy as one of the foundations of the Estonian economy
Urmas Varblane (University of Tartu)
14:05–14:30 Long term expectations for animal proteins
Christophe Lafougere (Gira Food)
14:30–15:00 Coffee break

Part III: Panel discussion

Time Title/Description
15:00–16:30 Food of the future: what will we eat in the future?
Aleksei Lotman (agricultural and environmental expert, Estonian Fund for Nature)
Roosi Soosaar (agricultural producer and CEO, non-profit organisation Estonian Field Crops Cluster)
Rain Kuldjärv (food scientist, Center of Food and Fermentation Technologies)
Margit Keller (consumer sociologist, Head of the Institute of Social Studies of the University of Tartu)
Jaanus Vihand (Chairman of the Board, Apollo Group OÜ)
Dr. Kristel Ehala-Aleksejev (nutrition doctor, Tartu University Hospital)
Rasmus Rask (founder, La Muu AS)

Conclusion of the conference

Time Title/Description
16:30–16:45 Concluding remarks
Illar Lemetti (Secretary General of the Ministry of Rural Affairs)
16:45–18:00 Reception

Speaker profiles

Mart Järvik

Mart Järvik is the Minister of Rural Affairs of Estonia as of April 2019. Since 1998, he has been a member of the Järvakandi Borough Council. He has served as Deputy Chairman of the Association of Estonian Cities, the Rural Municipality Mayor of Järvakandi (16 years) and as member of the Järvakandi Rural Municipality Council.  He has been the head of the Rassi farm since 1991. Mart Järvik has graduated from the Tihemetsa Sovkhoz Technical School in agricultural mechanisation, the University of Tartu Türi College in environmental sciences, and the University of Tartu in environmental management.

Illar Lemetti

Illar Lemetti is the Secretary General of the Ministry of Rural Affairs of Estonia. He manages the structural units of the Ministry and organises the activities of the Ministry’s government and state authorities since 2 April 2016. He graduated from the Estonian Agricultural Academy in agronomics in 1993 and obtained a Master's degree in agricultural sciences in soil science in 1995.

Toomas Kevvai

Toomas Kevvai has been the Deputy Secretary General for Food Safety, Research and Development since 1 April 2013. He manages the work of the Food Safety Department, the Plant Health Department, and the Research and Development Department. He has worked in the Ministry for over 25 years, in which time he has been responsible for agriculture, rural development and fisheries. During the EU accession negotiations, he was responsible for the chapter on agriculture. Toomas Kevvai graduated from the Estonian Agricultural Academy in agronomics in 1987.

Rudolf Mögele

Rudolf Mögele is a former Deputy Director General in DG AGRI of the European Commission. He was responsible for Directorates AGRI.G "Markets and observatories", AGRI.H "Assurance and audit" and AGRI.I "Legal, institutional and procedural matters". Before joining the European Commission in 1989, he held a post in the Bavarian Ministry of the Interior in Munich. He holds a Law degree and a Doctorate in Law from the University of Augsburg and is an Honorary Professor for European Law at the University of Würzburg.

Roomet Sõrmus

Roomet Sõrmus has been the Chairman of the Board at the Estonian Chamber of Agriculture and Commerce since 2008. Previously, he has worked at the EU Secretariat of the Government Office of Estonia. As of 2015, he is a member of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC). He has a Bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics and entrepreneurship from the Estonian Agricultural University and a Master’s degree in international agricultural sciences from the Humboldt University of Berlin.

Urmas Varblane

Urmas Varblane is a professor at the School of Economics and Business Administration of the University of Tartu and an academic at the Estonian Academy of Sciences. As of 2009, he is a Member of the Supervisory Board of the Bank of Estonia.

Christophe Lafougere

Christophe Lafougere has been the CEO of the food and drinks marketing consultancy GIRA for over 25 years. He has worked in the dairy sector and cooperated with farms and industries across the world. He has lead several strategic counselling and research activities throughout the food supply chain. Christophe supervises all of Gira’s activities in this sector. He is the initiator and supervisor of the Gira Dairy Club, which comprises of most of the best dairies in the world.

Mart Undrest

Mart Undrest is a Member of the Board at the Estonian Fishing Association, the Central Association of Estonian Fish Producers and the Estonian Fishermen's Association. In 2003, he started working at the Ministry of Agriculture and between 2005 and 2009 he was a Ministry of the Environment official at the Permanent Representation of Estonia to the EU in Brussels. Mart Undrest has a Master’s degree from KU Leuven in Belgium, where he graduated in 2006 as Master of Laws (LL.M.).

Veljo Ipits

Veljo Ipits is the owner and Chairman of the Board of AS Salvest. He has worked as a senior researcher and lecturer at the University of Tartu. He has been a private entrepreneur since January 1988 and one of the founders of Werol Tehased in Jõgeva County. He is a Member of the Board at the Estonian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Chairman of the Council of the Estonian Food Industry Association.

Tõnu Post

Tõnu Post is the head of agricultural enterprise Kõljala Põllumajanduslik OÜ. He is the Deputy Chairman of the Supervisory Board of the Estonian Chamber of Agriculture and Commerce, as well as a Member of the Board at the Association of Farmers of Saaremaa and the Association of Entrepreneurs of Saaremaa. He is also Farmer of the Year 2013 and Agricultural Executive 2017.

Aleksei Lotman

Head of the Maritime Programme of the Estonian Fund for Nature, agricultural and environmental expert. He has been active in nature conservation and environmental protection for over 25 years. Aleksei Lotman has previously worked as Director of Science at the Matsalu Nature Reserve and as the manager of the pilot project Natura 2000. In 2003, together with his wife Kaja Lotman, he received the Elisabeth Jidhe memorial award by the WWF. He has graduated the University of Tartu as a biologist.

Hede Kerstin-Luik

Hede Kerstin Luik follows the principles of management and behavioural sciences in her everyday work and conducts team trainings and individual work with leaders by advising mainly on issues of strategy, service design, communication, cooperation and management. With more than 20 years of experience, Hede has further educated herself with the INSEAD change management Master’s programme focusing in affecting the attitude and behaviour of teams and organisations. She has an opportunity to freshen her knowledge with a practical view as the Head of Communications at the North Estonia Medical Centre.

Roosi Soosaar

Roosi Soosaar is an agricultural producer, the head of an agricultural organisation and the owner of an organic fertiliser business. She has studied law and agriculture. Agricultural topics closest to her heart are environmental and soil protection and agroecology.

Rain Kuldjärv

Rain Kuldjärv has worked at the Center of Food and Fermentation Technologies (CFFT) for over 10 years. He has carried out various sensory analysis experiments, trained and lead the local panel and trained industry specialists, as well as various committee members of food competitions, for example, members of the Best Estonian Food Product and the 'Swallow Label' of Approved Estonian Taste judging panels. One of the main focal points of Rain’s research and development is fermentation, mainly in the drinks sector.

Margit Keller

Margit Keller is the Head of the Institute of Social Studies of the University of Tartu and a Consumer Sociologist. Her recent work has focused on the change of socio-technical systems. In December 2018, she was awarded by the staff of the Institute of Social Studies with the title “Leader of the Year”. Margit has graduated the University of Tartu and has a PhD in media and communications studies.

Jaanus Vihand

Jaanus Vihand is the Chairman of the Board of the Apollo Group. He has been feeding people for over 10 years by managing food industries, retail stores and catering businesses. He is the “Estonian Leader of the Year 2019”.

Kristel Ehala-Aleksejev

Dr. Kristel Ehala-Aleksejev is a doctor at the Men's Clinic of the Tartu University Hospital, as well as a nutritional therapist and patient counsellor at SA Nutrition Clinic. She has taken part of the working group on renewing the Estonian food and nutrition recommendations by the National Institute for Health Development and helped develop the nutritional specialist vocational standard (Estonian Qualifications Authority). During her studies in Belgium, she finished her Master’s thesis on the relations of the adipose tissue in the human metabolic syndrome. In 2019, she defended her doctoral thesis. Her work focused on the associations between body composition, obesity and obesity-related health and lifestyle conditions with male reproductive function. She has graduated from the Catholic University of Louvain in biomedicine and the University of Tartu in medicine.

Rasmus Rask

Rasmus Rask is the head of the organic ice cream producer La Muu, established in 2012. He is very active member of the community. He was awarded with the title “Citizen of the Year” in 2017. He is the leader of the Schools Without Bullying Foundation and the founder of the private initiative basic school “Open School”, which has a trilingual language immersion programme.

Conference organizer logos: Ministry of Rural Affairs, Ministry of the Environment, Agricultural Research Centre, European Commission, Estonian Rural Development Plan 2014-2020


Last updated: 15 November 2019