Farmers’ Parliament representatives Maira Dzelzkalēja Burmistre and Zanda Melnalksne participated in the Agroforum Mare Balticum on April 18-20. This time the conference was held as in strategic format for policy making, with presentations by the EC, the European Parliament, the Estonian Runal Life Ministry, the FAO and other high-level policy lecturers.
Between the conference, in an informal atmosphere about the topicalities of the agricultural sector in Latvia, we discussed with Jerzy Bogdan Plewa, Head of EC Agriculture Directorate and Czesław Adam Siekierski, Chairman of the European Parliament’s Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development.
The rector of the University of Tartu, inaugurating the conference, emphasized the reality of the present situation, when city residents have moved far away from the countryside. The rector pointed out that a man without roots is like a homeless person. He does not know where he is coming from and where he is going. Today, many city residents do not know where and how they grow food, have not seen a live cow. And do not realize that fresh air comes from the countryside. Our day-to-day goods come from the countryside – sheets, dishes, etc. It is necessary to tell the farmers “Thank you” that they produce all this. However, what happens most often involves various illogical requirements, without knowing the realities of the countryside at all, and not thinking about how farmers will be able to implement these requirements in life. Therefore, it is necessary to have a dialogue and conversation, it is necessary to meet, so that both parties can get to know each other and understand each other as much as possible.
In the course of the conference, the issues that influenced the further development of agriculture in the current EU context were the following aspects:
- BREXIT process
- Audit of the EU budget and simplification of the CAP
- Refugee flows in Europe
- Foreign capital intrusion into our markets
- Providing high quality food
- Climate, weather effects
- High social inequality
- Prices in markets are falling, Europe can control it less and less
- Growing external competition
- Agriculture is industrialized
- Higher standards also lead to higher costs
- Importance is vertical integration in the market, increasing its role
- Universities and research will play an important role in developing a smart agricultural sector
- The issue of renewable energy will be important for agriculture. This is especially true of ensuring energy independence
- Soils in the Baltics are not rich, which means that farmers need more support