Estonia has the third highest share of organic farming in European Union and is one of EIT-Food’s RIS countries
Organic farming as a big chance for Estonian agriculture
Despite the demanding climate conditions connected to geographical location, Estonia possesses environmentally clean and fertile soil, which is reflected in local produce containing considerably less chemicals and growing popularity of organic farming. Specific products are exported – e.g. cultivated and wild berries, mushrooms, ecologically pure produce, dairy products, meat, fish, and beverages.
The country is an attractive environment for research with top level infrastructure and well-educated labour force. R&D activity is concentrated on top tier-research.
The country possesses environmentally clean and fertile soil, which is reflected in local produce containing considerably less chemicals and organic farming that gaining popularity. Out of 957 510 ha of farmland of Estonia, ca 15.7% of it constitutes organic farming, which is the third highest share of any EU country (Eurostat, 2014). A strong emphasis is put on high nature value and agri-environmental issues, with 16.5% of the country defined under NATURA 2000 (including 55,000 ha of farmland).
Room for Improvement
Estonia is one of the leading countries in European Union in terms of the publication of articles on agri-food subjects, which implies a meaningful research potential that can be fostered through EIT education activities.
EIT Food Hub in Estonia: Tartu Biotechnology Park
Tartu Biotechnology Park (TBP) provides physical infrastructure and business development and consultancy services to companies and R&D institutions. It supports companies in finding cooperation partners and is active in the establishment process of new companies.
The main aim is to support companies in developing their business through direct consultations, provide support with the help of EU programs and support the local innovation ecosystem through different collaborations, projects and events.
The aim of TBP is to create a favourable and developing environment for the promotion of biotechnological entrepreneurship in Estonia.
Starting from September 2005 TBP runs the BioMed incubator for biotechnology (including foodtech and cosmetics).
Estonian love spending time in the forests to pick berries, mushrooms and herbs so much they call this kind of food gathering Estonian national sport. They showed just how serious they are about that when the first world cranberry picking championship was held in Estonia at Emajõe Suursoo Nature Reserve in the autumn of 2010.