On 22–24 April 2014, the international discussion forum Agroforum Balticum, organised by the Estonian University of Life Sciences and the Saint Petersburg State University in cooperation with the Estonian Ministry of Agriculture and the FAO took place for the second time as a companion of the Agricultural Fair Maamess 2014, one of the biggest rural fairs in the Baltic Sea region, in Tartu, Estonia. The topic of the Forum is – fair and free trade in agricultural products.
The objectives of the Agroforum are the following:
- To draw public attention to the most important issues of the sector of agriculture, in order to increase public awareness of the future functions of agriculture and different regions and of the ways to meet the set objectives.
- To improve cooperation between policy makers, researchers and sector representatives in order to promote the efficiency of the use of resources, with a view to smart, sustainable and involving development of agriculture and rural life in concordance with the Europe 2020 Strategy.
The Agroforum is targeted at decision makers on political, administrative and research level and at producers’ associations, incl. ministers of agriculture and other higher state public servants, managers of agricultural universities, producers’ representatives, food processors’ and producers’ associations, but also the wider public through different media. The representatives of the countries bordering the Baltic Sea, such as Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Russia, and also the Eastern partnership countries, such as the Ukraine, Moldova, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia are invited to the Agroforum. Kazakhstan, one of the biggest grain producers in the world, will also be involved. In 2014, China is invited as a special guest to the Agroforum.
The Agroforum is a good opportunity for a dialogue with international organisations, such as the FAO, the WTO and the OECD. The public will be given a message of the problems treated and of their possible solutions.
In 2014, trade in agricultural products is in focus. It is most relevant to stress the importance of food security policy, the environment and territorial balance, in order to maintain sustainable agriculture, to deal with essential cross-border questions and to enhance solidarity between different countries in the field of food production and rural development.
In cooperation with those international organisations who will make keynote speeches at the Agroforum, background documents appropriate to the subject will be prepared. At roundtables, representatives of different target groups of participating countries will have the floor.
At their roundtables, ministers and higher state public servants will concentrate on the set political objectives and the measures to be taken to meet those objectives, representatives of university managements on the contribution of research, producers’ representatives on innovation and the application of technological development.
Ministers will discuss several policy objectives and instruments related to trade, such as guaranteeing of self sufficiency, increase in export potential and the optimum and environmentally sustainable use of resources.
Managers of agricultural universities will draw attention to the importance of research in the solution of the problems that agriculture, rural development, processing industry and trade have to face.
Producers’ representatives will concentrate on the importance of innovation, technological development and public good, officials on partnership relations and support measures management.
As the Agroforum will take place during the annual Rural Fair on the territory of the University of Life Sciences in Tartu, participants in the Forum will have an opportunity to visit one of the biggest and most popular Estonian fairs with many vistors and exhibitors.
The Agroforum will enable participation in visits to different industrial enterprises and in excursions in Tartu and at the University of Life Sciences.
The schedule of the Agroforum 2014 was as follows:
22 April – arrival of participants, excursions in Tartu and at the University of Life Sciences, welcome reception
23 April – Agroforum, Forum dinner
24 April – Agroforum, opening of the Fair, visits to enterprises, departure