On 7 July, Minister of Rural Affairs of the Republic of Estonia Tarmo Tamm took part in a conference in Brussels called “Have Your Say”, where the findings of the public consultation on the future of the Common Agricultural Policy of the European Union were introduced. The Minister also took part in a panel session “A Conversation With”, where the aim was to find future solutions in agriculture. In his speech, Minister Tamm stressed that the Common Agricultural Policy must be based on knowledge gained through science and research and has to emphasize the need for innovation.
During the panel session, Tarmo Tamm also introduced Estonian digital solutions: “Digital solutions in agriculture can also be one way of solving one of the biggest challenges in agriculture within European Union – the low percentage of young farmers. A high-tech industry based on modern solutions will help young people enter the agriculture sector.” In addition, Minister Tamm spoke about best practices of Estonia as a leading provider of online state services, such as the digital prescription and tax declarations through smart solutions.
“We have tried to make the application process for supports as easy, fast, and convenient as possible in Estonia. You can file applications for supports online, and you can present catch data via smart devices. The supervision over area-related supports will also be exercised through satellite data. All of these solutions have significantly simplified not just the work in our sector, but also decreased bureaucracy,” Tamm added.
Minister Tamm also said during the panel session that the availability of information and data is one part of risk management in agriculture that will help farmers make more aware decisions. “We plan to talk about risk management more broadly during the informal meeting of ministers for agriculture and fisheries, held on 3–5 September in Tallinn,” Tarmo Tamm announced.
In addition to Tarmo Tamm, the Vice-President of the European Commission Jyrki Katainen, and the Chair of the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development of the European Parliament Czesław Adam Siekierski also took the floor. The aim of the session was to introduce the visions of the main institutions of the European Union – the European Commission, the European Parliament, and the Council of the European Union – on the future of the Common Agricultural Policy.
Based on the findings of the public consultation on the Common Agricultural Policy, the following should be taken into account in developing the future CAP:
- farmers need direct supports
- the position of farmers in the value chain needs to be improved
- the agricultural policy needs to contribute more to the environment and climate
Most target groups agreed that the current CAP deals with these challenges only to a certain degree. The need for modernizing and simplifying the CAP was unanimously agreed upon. The growing discord between the economy and environment was also pointed out, and all parties recognized that achieving goals in both fields will be a difficult challenge.