The Ministry of Rural Affairs, together with the Agricultural Board and the Veterinary and Food Board, is preparing the merger of the two agencies. The new agency shall be called the Agriculture and Food Board and will begin operating on 1 January 2021.
The merger of the two agencies is part of the state administration reform, where the government is trying to achieve the following objectives:
- make the execution of state functions more effective and efficient,
- increase the quality of public services,
- make the working practices of the general government sector more flexible and less bureaucratic,
- reduce the costs of the general government sector.
The new agency will, in essence, encompass the supervision of the entire agricultural food chain (the maintenance of arable land, plant production, animal husbandry, food production safety).
- The responsibilities of the Agricultural Board include land improvement, plant protection, plant health, plant variety right, seed propagating material, organic farming, management of genetically modified crops, fertilisers and horticultural products, i.e. fruits and vegetables, and the implementation of control measures against wild oats.
- The responsibilities of the Veterinary and Food Board are food safety, veterinary activities, feed safety, breeding of farmed animals, market regulation, organic farming, animal protection and commercial fishing.
With the establishment of the joint agency, these two broad areas will be bound into a coherent whole. The new agency will continue to carry out all the responsibilities of both the Agricultural Board and the Veterinary and Food Board and the majority of new functions will be related to the various sections of a longer agricultural food chain.
Will anything change for the clients and cooperation partners of the Agricultural Board or the Veterinary and Food Board?
Our aim in merging the agencies is to change as little as possible for the clients and cooperation partners.
Initial changes in administrative arrangements that could affect clients are the following:
- The organic sector supervision of both agencies will be integrated into the Organic Farming and Seed Department. The supervision of organic operators will also be transferred to the department (currently in the Food Department of the Veterinary and Food Board).
- The market regulation activities of both agencies will be integrated into the Fisheries and Market Regulation Department. The supervision of fruit and vegetable marketing will also be transferred to the department (currently in the Plant Health and Horticulture Department of the Agricultural Board).
We will notify the cooperation partners and clients of any changes at an early stage.
If you have any questions, you can turn to your usual contacts at the Veterinary and Food Board and Agricultural Board or use the general contacts of the agency. All the existing contact information shall remain valid for a transitional period. In parallel, new e-mail addresses in the form of name.surname[@]pta.agri.ee will be operational starting 1 January 2021.
Timeline of the merger
31.08.2020 – Urmas Kirtsi was selected as the Director General of the Agriculture and Food Board.
18.08.2020 – Minister of Rural Affairs Arvo Aller signed the Statute of the Agriculture and Food Board
11.06.2020 – The Secretary of State declared a competition for the appointment of the Director General of the Agriculture and Food Board. Candidates could apply until 2 August 2020.
10.06.2020 – The draft Act on the amendment of the Government of the Republic Act and other Acts regarding the restructuring of the Agricultural Board and the Veterinary and Food Board into the Agriculture and Food Board passed the third reading in the Estonian Parliament and was subsequently passed into law.
16.01.2020 – At the cabinet meeting, the Government of the Republic approved the proposal of the Minister of Rural Affairs to reorganise the Agricultural Board and the Veterinary and Food Board into a single agency and tasked the ministry to draft the appropriate legislation, while taking into account that the new agency would start operating on 1 January 2021.
1.08.2019 – At the cabinet meeting, the Government of the Republic approved the state reform activities. The Ministry of Rural Affairs was tasked with preparing and presenting to the government the proposals to decide the forming of a joint agency for the agriculture and food sector.