Rural Convention Draws Lukewarm Interest
The sixth Estonian rural convention was held in Põlva over the weekend.
The turnout to the Center Party-organized event was fairly meager, but a number of organizations and political party representatives were present to discuss plans for sweeping local government reforms, as well as the country's Rural Development Plan and education strategy, ETV.
At the congress, former Estonian president and Conservative People's Party member Arnold Rüütel was given a lifetime achievement award. Another 11 rural life promoters - including a journalist, a doctor, a teacher, a timber industry representative, and an ethno instruments builder - were recognized with awards.
One of the speakers at the event, Farmer of the Year 2001 Raivo Musting, stressed in his address the need for rural jobs to level out the trend of migration from the countryside to urban areas.
"I continue to claim that the only thing that will bring people back to the countryside, as was done at the end of the 1960s, is a high salary and the availability of residential property. Taking the children to school a few kilometers away is not a problem if a family has a solid roof over their head and they know they have a stable salary each month," Musting said.