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Estonian innovation capacity assessed by the OECD

14. February 2018 - 15:19
From left to right: Carla Boonstra, Heimar Lenk, Aivar Kokk, Ken Ash, Catherine Moreddu, Tarmo Tamm, Toomas Kevvai.
From left to right: Carla Boonstra, Heimar Lenk, Aivar Kokk, Ken Ash, Catherine Moreddu, Tarmo Tamm, Toomas Kevvai. Photo by Erik Peinar.

A report by the OECD on Estonian innovation capacity was presented at the Rural Affairs Committee of the Parliament of Estonia on 13 February.

“We are extremely proud that the OECD had decided to conduct an analysis on Estonia and that we are of interest,” Minister of Rural Affairs of Estonia, Tarmo Tamm, said. “In the OECD, the member states jointly decide which topics and countries should be included in the work programme – this shows that we have been spotted by major countries for our ability to evolve and for our mind-set, which is aimed towards innovation.”

In addition to the Minister of Rural Affairs and the Chairman of the Rural Affairs Committee, Ken Ash, Director of the OECD Trade and Agriculture Directorate, Catherine Moreddu, Senior Economist of the OECD Department for Agriculture and Fisheries Policy, and Carla Boonstra, reviewer of the Estonian report from the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality of the Netherlands also took part in the presentation of the report.

The analysis focuses on innovation related to agricultural productivity and sustainability in Estonia. The overview is based on a thorough analysis and it describes the effectiveness and problems of the Estonian food and agriculture sector.  It also analyses the extent of which policies encourage innovation, productivity and sustainability in the sector and gives suggestions on shaping various national policies.

The report brings out the strengths of the Estonian innovation system – a favourable business environment, a government strategy that combines innovation and economic growth objectives, a relatively strong national research system, and a positive attitude in society towards science and technology. However, the report also points out weaknesses – a lack of sufficient R&D activities and innovation in private businesses, which is partly caused by the relatively small size of the businesses in Estonia. The report also noted that the Estonian agricultural innovation system needs to become more engaging and responsive to help with the further increase of sustainable production.

“We will work through the observations made by the OECD and find ways to follow the recommendations,” Minister Tamm added. “For example, I agree that in order to attract more people to rural areas and keep them there, we need to, among other things, improve infrastructure and local services, but also inform about the employment possibilities and encourage resettlement.”

The background report for the OECD was compiled by the Estonian University of Life Sciences. The OECD used several Estonian and international scientific researches and conducted additional research. A similar analysis has been conducted for Australia, Brazil, Canada, the Netherlands, Turkey, and the United States. The analysis was completed at the end of 2017 and published on 13.02.2018 on the OECD’s webpage.

The introduction to the OECD’s analysis was organised by the Rural Affairs Committee of the Parliament of Estonia together with the Ministry of Rural Affairs.

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