Sõrmus: Farmers pleased with new coalition’s rural plans

Herd of cows in a snowy field. (AFP/Scanpix)
11/21/2016 2:01 PM
Category: Business

The new coalition’s agreement includes a number of measures involving rural life that farmers’ organizations have wanted and even demanded for years. According to Chairman of the Board at Estonian Chamber of Agriculture and Commerce Roomet Sõrmus, farmers may be very pleased with the new government’s planned rural measures.

The new government coalition has promised farmers to reinstate state transitional support at maximum rates, increase crisis support next year as well as compile a bioeconomic development plan that encompasses all of Estonia. These and multiple other measures were written into the coalition agreement upon the recommendation of farmers’ organizations, reported ERR’s radio news.

"Naturally we are very happy that the subject of transitional allowance is at long last [back] on the table and that the coalition intends to begin paying transitional support in full beginning next year, which, considering the situation that has developed in agriculture by now, is an extremely important step in alleviating the effects of the crisis which have already been generated," said Sõrmus.

He added that this would also provide farmers with the confidence to continue production. "This actually involves a much bigger and wider message for agricultural and food production on the whole," noted the head of the agricultural and commercial chamber.

The new government also plans on developing a bioeconomic development plan that encompasses all of Estonia. "This is, after all, not just food production and agriculture," explained Sõrmus. "This is the use of Estonia’s land and agricultural resources in order to create products and jobs, develop exports and generally bring expected growth to the state."

While farmers were hoping for it, according to Sõrmus the coalition agreement doesn’t include a single line about what the plan is to ensure that Estonian food products make it to foreign markets — a matter that requires an entire package of measures as well as daily, targeted efforts, Sõrmus claimed.

Milk production company Pajusi ABF owner and Farmer of the Year Lembit Paal said that of farmers’ 11 recommendations, a total of seven made it into the coalition agreement, which displays a shift in attitude among politicians.

"One thing is the subject of transitional support, which farmers have been talking about for years," said Paal, who believed that what was going on was an important political upheaval. "Crisis support was increased as well. The coalition being formed isn’t relying on their own wisdom but rather also listening to specialists and experts in making decisions."

Editor: Aili Vahtla

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