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Seeder: Competitive agriculture is the best food security guarantee

22.11.12 | News

Late last night, addressing the Riigikogu, Helir-Valdor Seeder, the Minister of Agriculture, told that the Estonian State must ask itself where is the balance between industrial production and traditional family farms and how to maintain food production and the more purposeful use of land resources.

According to the Minister’s words, lower salaries, higher diligence, rapid concentration of industry and industrialisation concurrent with the complicated situation of family farms have been the price Estonian agriculture forced to compete on unequal terms has had to pay for survival.

„Besides efficient large-scale agriculture we also need small-scale farming, family farms, to maintain rural settlement and landscapes and to diversify agricultural production,“ said Seeder and added that in Estonia the supply of food, the production for export and the introduction of modern technology will mainly concern large producers in the future.

„Estonian big farmers must be recognized for their ability to develop and even compete with the best of Europe. But the practice of Estonia with the small getting bigger or winding up and the large being purchased by foreign capital investors is not in our national interest. The more we are masters and owners in our own country, the better will be preconditions for successful rural development.“

„Competitive agriculture is the best food security guarantee. But this requires competitive parity. The last version of the negotiation paper on the EU new financial period provides that „in a more equal distribution of direct payments between the Member States the still existing differences in wage levels, purchasing power, outputs of the sector of agriculture and input prices are considered“. „I don’t understand how is it possible that despite considering all those indicators direct payments can differ so much between the Member States,“ said Seeder.

The Minister of Agriculture declared that Estonia wishes competitive parity. „Perpetuating the differences between incomes and standards of living with different direct payments cannot be the aim of the Common Agricultural Policy. Estonia does not wish higher support payments but equal opportunities on the EU internal market,“ said Seeder.

„I want to extend my thanks to the members of the Riigikogu for your initiative, attention and support given to Estonian agriculture with today’s declaration. This means that the success of the sector of agriculture of recent years has been met with approval, but it also gives the public a message that agriculture is one of the priorities of the Estonian State,“ the Minister of Agriculture Helir-Valdor Seeder acknowledged the members of the Riigikogu.

The Riigikogu adopted the declaration on "Estonian agriculture and the reform of the EU Common Agricultural Policy", appealing to the EU Member States, the European Parliament and the European Commission for a system of direct payments ensuring competitive parity for all farmers of the European Union.