Land and Forests Should Belong to Locals, Says Professor (1)
Professor Rando Värnik of the University of Life Sciences said that local ownership of land is the underpinning of the continued survival of the state.
“Land is foremost a source of food, and any profits it generates must stay with the local owner, who farms the land,” Värnik, the head of the Institute of Economic and Social Sciences, said in Parliament today, adding that the expatriation of those profits must be prevented.
Speaking about the development of rural areas, Värnik said that more focus should be on businesses, but currently there are few financial possibilities for municipalities to do that.
Värnik said that a lack of workers in rural areas is also hampering business growth.
He said that due to demographic trends, there are few people living in rural areas, meaning fewer upper secondary schools. These schools are where important decisions regarding where people see their future, are made.
“Another problem that must be acknowledged is the fact that the national budget depends on EU help to the extent of 17 to 18 percent,” Värnik said,
All grants should be viewed as temporary, said Värnik, adding that the nation must ask itself what its options would be if Estonia received no EU funding.