The objective of the Ministry of Rural Affairs in the field of developing rural life and rural entrepreneurship is to contribute to the harmonious and integrated development of rural areas.
To achieve this goal, the Ministry coordinates Estonia’s rural development policy, implements the European Union’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and develops and implements the Estonian Rural Development Plans.
During the programme period from 2014–2020, rural development policy is included into a single strategic planning process along with the Structural Funds and the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund.
As a result, the European Union’s economic growth and employment objectives have been more closely integrated in the Estonian rural development policy and the combined effect of different policies should also improve.
However, the Rural Development Policy should help to find solutions to several challenges of the European Union's Common Agricultural Policy – how to ensure food supply, strengthen the sustainable management of natural resources, reduce the pressure of climate change on agricultural production and the impact of agriculture on the environment, increase the competitiveness of rural undertakings, make use of the diversity in the structure of agriculture, and promote the balanced development of rural areas.
- Estonian Rural Development Plan (ERDP) 2007–2013
From 2007–2013, the Ministry of Rural Affairs based the activities targeted at the development of Estonian rural life on the Estonian Rural Development Plan (ERDP) for 2007–2013. The aim of the activities was to raise the quality of life in rural areas, diversify rural entrepreneurship, promote the establishment and operation of rural economic enterprises and improve their competitiveness. While implementing the development plan, the Ministry aimed to contribute to the development of village life and increase in the number of jobs in rural areas, promote joint activities and contribute to the sustainable use of agri-environment to ensure a clean environment for the future generations.
- Estonian Rural Development Plan (ERDP) 2014–2020
During the financial period from 2014–2020, the Estonian Rural Development Plan (ERDP) for 2014–2020 will be implemented as the basis for activities targeted at the development of national rural life. The development plan has determined the areas to be supported, the measures and the allocation of the total budget of 936 million euros. In order to develop a balanced and results-oriented development plan that protects the interests of Estonia as a whole, the Ministry involved a wide range of interest groups in the preparation phase and also informed the public.
The activities of the Ministry and its area of government in designing and carrying out the rural policy are coordinated by the Rural Development Department.
Authorities and agencies
The applications of grants established under the framework of the Estonian Rural Development Plan can be submitted to, the grants are paid out and the target use of the funds is controlled by the Agricultural Registers and Information Board (ARIB), which belongs to the area of government of the Ministry of Rural Affairs.
The applications for the aid of forestry measures of the Estonian rural development plan can be submitted to the Foundation Private Forest Centre, which also controls the use of the grant funds.