TALLINN - The Estonian government approved on May 22 the rural life development plan for 2014-2020,one that has more than one billion euros allocated in the budget and sets the goal of raising the competitiveness of Estonian agriculture and food production and developing business in rural areas, reports Postimees Online.
“The productivity of Estonian agriculture and the food industry has to increase by at least three percent a year with the support of the planned investments, and export of value-added production also has to increase,” said Agriculture Minister Ivari Padar. “We have laid emphasis in the development plan on the fact that Estonian rural areas as a whole should be more competitive. This means that in addition to agricultural investment, means will be allocated for promoting other rural businesses and for development of local communities.”
Active manufacturers and adding as much value to their production as possible is in the focus of the development plan. “We want to reach the point that our agricultural products would also be processed in Estonia, so we can export more valuable products. We have paid great attention in the development plan to joint activities of agricultural producers since joint production, processing and marketing gives farmers a stronger position in the market,” said Padar.
The rural life development plan for 2014-2020 has a total budget of 1.0 billion euros, and nearly 30 organizations were involved in its preparations.
Next the plan goes to coordination with the European Commission, where negotiations take up to 6 months. The first support measures are scheduled to open in 2015.