Baltic, Nordic ministers discuss challenges for farm sector

  • 2024-02-22
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN – In their meeting in Trakai, Lithuania, Baltic and Nordic ministers of agriculture discussed the implementation of the European Union's Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) strategic plans and various environmental issues related to the CAP.

The ministers noted that the situation in the agricultural sector is difficult now in all member states. The new period of the CAP, which started in 2023, has brought with it challenges for all member states.

"The new environmental architecture of the CAP, the large number of additional measures and requirements and the implementation of new control methods have meant a major effort for all parties, both public authorities and farmers," said Marko Gorban, secretary general of the Estonian Ministry of Regional Affairs and Agriculture.

Last year, more than 20 measures of the new period were launched and the surface monitoring system was implemented for the first time.

"Despite some delay, more than 140 million euros in direct payments was paid out in Estonia by the end of last year," the official said.

The difficult situation in the agricultural sector is partially the result of reduced incomes and the need to meet growing environmental demands. During this period, Estonia will contribute approximately 450 million euros from the agricultural policy budget to environmental and climate goals.

"With this money, we will help our food producers in the green transition. Our food sector has been diligently working to sustain our food supply while preserving the environment. In order to tackle the challenges of the green transition, support will be provided for the implementation of various climate- and environmentally friendly practices, investments in more efficient and sustainable technologies and resource management, and efforts will be made to deepen farmers' environmental knowledge," Gorban said.

Separately, the ministers discussed the implementation of the requirement to preserve permanent grassland.

"Of Estonia's approximately one million hectares of agricultural land, 28 percent is permanent grassland. These areas have an important role to play in meeting climate targets. At the same time, it is important that when implementing the requirement to maintain permanent grassland, farmers are given sufficient flexibility both when it comes to the entry of young farmers into the sector and changing the direction of production within the sector," the official added.