A union of farmers said the recently announced higher subsidies for young farmers does not go far enough and the state should hand land free to those willing to become farmers.
Juhan Särgava, the head of the Central Union of Estonian Farmers, told ERR radio the number of young people choosing agriculture is only a tenth of what is needed. “The realization that legal methods can open doors to young people is very healthy, but only those additional subsidies are not enough, although the percentages may seem high.”
He said Estonia has a large amount of unimproved land, and young people should be given the right to use that with the land given to them as presents if they have two or three children.
The Ministry of Agriculture said it will increase subsidies paid to farmers under the age of 40, with a 25 percent bonus for the first 39 hectares to be paid for the first five years of activity to newly-turned farmers.
Currently only 7 percent of agriculture workers are under 35 and one-third are over 65.