Horticulture Commission Convenes to Address Fruit and Veg Shortfall
A commission to draw up a horticulture development plan convened on Tuesday, with the Ministry of Agriculture saying that Estonia only managed to satisfy 10 percent of its fruit and 66 percent of its vegetable needs.
Illar Lemetti, an under secretary at the ministry, said in a press release on Tuesday that they hope to increase production during the next seven years.
According to stat.ee, fruit production stood at over 28,000 tons in 2002. Last year, the output was 5,200 tons.
According to 2012 statistics, 59,000 tons of fruit, including berries, was consumed last year.
Farmers have complained that cheap foreign produce has pushed them out of a market, with one tomato producer forced to give away a large part of its inventory for free in late August. On a different level, every fall brings apples free for the taking on roadsides around Estonia, yet even in season, in cities domestic apples are still often more expensive than foreign produce.
The commission said that investments into storage capability should be made, while modern technology could boost efficiency. Cooperation between growers and those who process the fruit and vegetables should be improved, and smaller farms should work together.
Besides the ministry, a number of other state agencies, universities and private companies are also involved in the commission's work.