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Environment and innovation need to be taken into account in agriculture

13. November 2019 - 15:13
A smiling boy holding a raspberry.
Photo: Katrin Press / Ministry of Rural Affairs.

On 13 November, the conference “Agriculture, Fisheries and Rural Life: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow” was held in Tallinn, Estonia. The conference stressed the importance of the agriculture and fisheries development plan in establishing a common goal, as well as the need to deal with environmental problems and be open to innovation.

“You may ask why agriculture, fisheries and rural life need a development plan. It is necessary because we need to have a wide-ranging goal, which we all agree on and strive towards in our own way, either on the field, in the barns, on a fishing ship or within the entire food sector,” Minister of Rural Affairs Mart Järvik said.

Minister Järvik also pointed out the importance of keeping up with the changing world and environmental issues. “Our focus needs to be turned towards environmental preservation and the global challenges of climate change, as farmers cannot work without good agricultural soils nor fish breeders without clean water,” the Minister said. “We already see how production is being automated and human contribution is decreasing. I think that we need to be open to innovation, support farmers in this regard and build a bridge between farmers and the scientific world,” Minister Järvik added.

“Just as today, it is important that in 10 years’ time it is possible to live a good life in rural areas and that Estonian food is held in high regard. That is what we are all striving towards with our new development plan,” Deputy Secretary General of the Ministry of the Environment, Marku Lamp, said.” We have an excellent example of the synergy between agriculture and environmental protection – our semi-natural communities that only preserve their biodiversity when animals are grazed there,” the Deputy Secretary General added.

Deputy Secretary General Lamp also pointed out that preferring domestic food to food imported by plane from distant countries will help to alleviate the effect of climate change and a more efficient use of resources will preserve the environment and increase the added value of production.

Presentations were also given by Prof Dr Rudolf Mögele, former Deputy Director General, DG AGRI, European Commission; Toomas Kevvai, Deputy Secretary General for Food Safety, Research and Development of the Ministry of Rural Affairs of Estonia; Illar Lemetti, Secretary General of the Ministry of Rural Affairs of Estonia; Roomet Sõrmus, Chairman of the Board at the Estonian Chamber of Agriculture and Commerce; Urmas Varblane, University of Tartu; Christophe Lafougere, Gira Food. In addition, the conference provided a platform for discussions on the food of the future with Aleksei Lotman, Roosi Soosaar, Rain Kuldjärv, Margit Keller, Jaanus Vihand, Dr Kristel Ehala-Aleksejev and Rasmus Rask.

The conference was organised by the Ministry of Rural Affairs, together with the Ministry of the Environment, the Estonian Agricultural Research Centre and the European Commission Representation in Estonia.

Conference presentations are available on the website of the Ministry of Rural Affairs of Estonia.

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