The topic was innovation and the possibilities for innovation in agriculture and rural life development.
The moderator of the round table, Kaul Nurm, draws a conclusion:
“We also touched upon some ideas what are the means and that could be used in CAP which is currently being formed right now, which could be used to help rural areas and agriculture. There are few activities that rose to the surface where innovative solutions would be possible. One of the ideas that was talked about was cooperation as a new innovative solution, I couldn’t say that it would be entirely innovative, however in Estonia we can say that there it isn’t enough of it. We do realize that common activities and cooperation is something that needs improvement and that have political will as well. And we can admit today that we don’t have enough common activities so this in the future should gain much more political attention and terms of measures as well. We talked about training, education and to the future we need more educated young people in agriculture and on the other hand and at the same time we did admit that an educated person is more opened to innovation than a person who is less educated and more afraid of innovation.
We also talked about short marketing chains, supply chains and innovation. And again innovation would be the tool of developing the topic of local food for example and this would help the nutrition nobler of citizens. We talked about different target groups towards whom the future agricultural policy should pay more attention – talked about this would be small or medium land owners. However we came to the conclusion that everything needs to be in balance and this balance in particular that also create harmony in rural life and enriches it.
We know that we have 2 pillars. We have the first pillar – direct support, direct payments and then we have the second pillar that deals with questions of rural development. And if we think about the nature of the first pillar support then right now there is an open debate about how the first pillar should be greener, towards whom it is geared, how much should be spend on the youth, how much should be spend on small land owners. So these are debates that are still undergoing. However actually everyone could apply to the first pillar supports, anyone who complies with the cross complies and requirements. But I would like to figuratively say that the first pillar supports are like high-speed train and it is heading down on very determined track and it’s not going to influence innovation much. Of course everyone could use the funds in an innovative way however there are no officials or politicians who have the role of directing innovation in this pillar. We talked about innovation today and we realized that opportunities for innovation are more in the second pillar, in the rural development pillar in the CAP. We know more or less what the possible measures are that the second pillar offers. The list is of course not definitive because the whole package has not been approved yet and we don’t know what kind of changes there will be from the debate between the EP and the Council. But I think general frames are rather clear and there should be very big changes in it.
Also when we talked about cooperatives and this is something goes under the second pillar. And if we want to summarize and synthesize it a little bit we could conclude that the CAP second pillar has a very important role and if we try to generalize it to the EU level where about 20% of CAP fund is in the second pillar and we know that it has been 50/50 between pillars and we have been rather happy with that. Then after today’s debate we could conclude that perhaps we would like to see more funding in the second pillar than the first one. It gives much more opportunities to the producers and influences the processes”.