Estonian agricultural sector: We must reduce our dependence on Russia

  • 2022-03-01
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN - Hostilities have pointed out the need to reduce external dependence and invest in local agriculture and circular economy, according to the Estonian Chamber of Agriculture and Commerce.

The local agricultural sector enables to reduce Estonia's dependence on Russian energy, raw material and fertilizers by expanding its biogas production and improving its livestock production in a situation where there may be a shortage of fertilizers due to trade restrictions with Russia, the umbrella organization said.

"In the light of the events occurring in Ukraine, it is important to invest in renewable energy production and circular economy based solutions in agriculture and the economy more broadly to reduce Estonia's external dependence on the energy, raw material and fertilizers of third states. The agricultural sector offers several opportunities in this regard. For example, by expanding the production of biogas or making better use of the potential of livestock farming in a situation where trade restrictions with Russia may cause a major shortage of fertilizers," board chairman of the Estonian Chamber of Agriculture and Commerce Roomet Sormus said in a press release.

Investments in sustainable and environmentally friendly technologies are long-lasting and expensive. In order to make such investment decisions, businesses need a supportive political environment.

"Increasing state co-funding for rural policy has become even more important to ensure that there are enough resources in the agricultural policy strategy for supporting the green transition of agriculture. The budget of environmental investments has contracted by nearly a half in the budget of the new plan entering into effect from 2023 compared with the present period," Sormus said.

"In crisis situations, we understand more and more how important it is to guarantee the viability of our agriculture to ensure a supply of local food for Estonian citizens," Sormus said, adding that he is pleased to acknowledge that Estonian agriculture and food production are among the most sustainable ones in the world. Farmers understand their role in the ecosystem and operate responsibly while taking nature into consideration in a comprehensive manner, he noted.

The Chamber of Agriculture and Commerce is holding a hybrid conference on March 1 focusing on the sustainable funding of the green transition in agriculture while also taking into account the current situation in Europe and elsewhere in the world.