"To ensure a sustainable food system, it is essential that the nation’s agriculture, fisheries, reindeer husbandry and game management are sound, profitable and capable of renewal"

3.4.2 Agriculture

Current situation

Agriculture has much potential in terms of finding solutions to environmental challenges. With the climate changing, food production is forced to prepare for different kinds of market, weather and animal disease risks. Good soil productivity, water economy and carbon sequestration capacity improve cultivation properties, crop security and adaptation of agriculture to changing natural conditions.

To ensure a sustainable food system, it is essential that the nation’s agriculture, fisheries, reindeer husbandry and game management are sound, profitable and capable of renewal. These are part of a broader food system; their function is not only to produce food. The production standards of Finnish food are extremely high, and there is wide interest in our products around the world for reasons such as their purity and safety.

The declining trend in the profitability of agriculture has continued for a long time. Despite larger farm size, entrepreneurial income is falling. To achieve higher profitability, we need higher self-sufficiency in energy, fertilisers and protein feed. Export efforts that have got off to a good start will be continued.

Agricultural biomasses are instrumental for increasing biogas production. Finland needs a long-term programme on biogas that enables us to promote the production and use of biogas.

Objective 1
Climate- and environment-friendly food system

Measures

Climate emissions from agriculture will be reduced and carbon sinks increased while also developing the conditions for agricultural activities.

The need to clear peatlands will be reduced by increasing the processing and productisation of manure. Continuous plant cover and controlled subsurface drainage will be increased to promote carbon sequestration in agricultural lands. Support payments will be targeted towards active farming. Measures under the future environmental payment system will be carried out in a way that reduces emissions from agriculture.

Sufficient funding will be ensured for climate and environmental objectives in the EU’s financial framework negotiations and nationally (CAP, ERDF, LIFE).

A strong focus will be placed on research, education and training, and advice. The main focus will be on carbon sequestration, low-carbon operations and competitiveness.

Market-driven mechanisms will be developed to compensate farmers for soil carbon sequestration based on results.

Protein self-sufficiency will be improved by promoting varietal breeding and expanding the range of commercial crops.

Consideration will be given to the reallocation of natural resources research funding between the Academy of Finland, the Prime Minister’s Office and sectoral research institutes, with the aim of strengthening the funding of research activities.

The existing guidance and advisory services for farmers will be brought together into a new, network-based expertise and service centre.

An afforestation and wetland programme will be introduced for arable lands not suited to food production and for peat production areas that are no longer in use.

The introduction of cultivation techniques which either increase carbon sequestration or reduce climate emissions will be promoted (e.g. wetland cultivation, biocoal).

Food loss and food waste will be reduced by removing barriers, increasing incentives and multiplying best practices.

An action plan on a climate-sustainable food system to 2030 will be prepared through cross-sectoral cooperation.

Food raw materials and production practices used in public food procurement will be required to comply with national legislation. The relative share of domestic plant-based products and fish will be increased in line with the nutrition recommendations and low- carbon objectives.

Strengthening biodiversity through agricultural policy measures

Measures will include semi-natural grasslands, biodiversity fields, local breeds and varieties, and increasing pollination services. Invasive alien species will be tackled more effectively.

Biogas

A national biogas programme will be prepared to tap into the biogas production potential.

Biogas investments and new manure processing techniques will be supported. Biogas production support based on the nutrient cycle will be introduced.

Regulation of biogas plants will be rationalised with respect to e.g. permit procedures and sale of energy from the plant.

Increasing the share of domestic organic products in food production, in food processing, in domestic consumption and in exports

The national strategy on organic production will be updated.

The funding for the Finnish Organic Research Institute will be strengthened and consolidated.

Reducing the impact of agriculture on waters

Investments that promote nutrient recycling will be supported.

The programme on more efficient water protection and the key project on nutrient recycling will be continued.

The functioning of the market for recycled fertilisers and regulation in support of nutrient recycling will be further developed on a cross-sectoral basis.

Flood protection and water management in agricultural soils will be promoted.

Measures related to waters will be targeted more effectively by increasing cooperation between farmers in solutions concerning water bodies.

Objective 2

Viable and profitable food economy

Measures

Improving the profitability of agriculture

Legislative measures will not lead to additional costs for farmers without compensating them for any such costs.

Support payments will be targeted at active and sustainable food production. The capitalisation of support payments to arable land markets will be curbed in the preparation of the new programming period.

The streamlining of regulation and controls will continue.

The obligation to harvest a crop will be reintroduced, provided that this is allowed by the EU legislation on control and the new control tools.

A development programme on the structure of arable lands will be implemented with the aim of facilitating the processes and boosting the development of the structure of holdings.

Securing sufficient levels of agricultural support

The gap in environmental payments in 2020 will be patched up.

The gap in natural handicap payments in 2020 will be patched up.

The funding of new commitments to organic production in 2020 will be secured.

The aim is that the level of the agricultural budget in the EU’s financial frameworks will be about the same as now.

In the future programming period the focus of support payments will be on active production and on improving animal welfare and the state of the environment.

The CAP Strategic Plan will be implemented in such a way that the support levels and the way of making commitments will stay consistent all through the programming period.

The national aid for southern Finland will be continued.

Securing investments that promote competitiveness, environmental and climate sustainability and animal welfare, and securing generational renewal

Agricultural investments will be secured by an additional capital input into the Development Fund of Agriculture and Forestry.

In the context of preparing for the new programming period, the operations of the Development Fund of Agriculture and Forestry will be renewed to enable effective utilisation of the new funding and guarantee instruments. The openness of the Development Fund of Agriculture and Forestry’s operations, the criteria it uses, the measurement of impacts, the reporting and the composition of the board will also be developed and evaluated.

The potential for introducing new tools to finance investments will be looked at, and the possibility that agriculture could make use of Finnvera’s services will be examined.

The practicality of the Ministry of the Environment’s building regulations will be examined from the perspective of the competitiveness of agriculture.

In the programming period preparations a tool will be created to promote generational renewal on farms.

Improving the food chain position of farmers and promoting dialogue within the chain

A ‘Shared Food Table’ will be established in line with the report ‘A New Beginning’.

Grocery stores will be obliged to provide food consumption data while also ensuring consumers’ data protection.

The overwhelming negotiating power of the grocery store chains will be kept in check through legislative measures, including private label products.

The conditions for community supported agriculture and direct sale of local food will be improved.

The creation of producer organisations will be supported by introducing start-up money for producer organisations at the beginning of the new programming period.

In education, training and advisory services for farmers the focus will be on economic skills, strengthening the market position and measures that support ownership steering.

Increasing the food economy’s added value on the domestic market and in exports

A strong focus will be placed on food exports.

Use of domestically sourced food in public procurement will be promoted.

The development of new innovations relating to food, new production technologies and new plant-based products will be promoted.

The operating environment for the domestic food industry and food processing will be improved.

The scope of mandatory package labelling and country-of-origin labelling will be extended.

An overhaul of the Food Act will be conducted.

Strong focus on agricultural risk management

Work will continue on keeping the use of antibiotics at a low level and keeping Finland salmonella-free.

Measures will be taken to combat serious animal diseases.

A national animal disease fund will be established together with farmers and the food industry.

Insurance premium tax will be abolished in accordance with legislation adopted by the previous Parliament.

Securing the functioning of public services related to agriculture

The Finnish Food Authority’s resources for developing new information systems will be secured in line with the needs of the new EU programming period.

Legislation on veterinary services will be amended so that the responsibility for organising 24-hour on-call duty in veterinary services continues to rest with the public sector.

A study will be commissioned on the agriculture-related environmental permit procedures, resources and good practices.

Creation of a long-term national vision for the Finnish food system

A national strategy will be prepared in cooperation between sectors on an economically, socially and ecologically sustainable food system to 2030, Ruokasali (‘dining hall’).

A development programme for school meals will be prepared.

More research will be done on children’s and young people's nutrition in support of the nutrition policy.

The sale of energy drinks to under 16-year-olds will be prohibited.

Objective 3

Growth and employment from the gifts of nature

Measures

Preparation of a promotion programme on domestic fish to increase the supply of domestic fish and its share in consumption

Development measures concerning the environmental permit system for fish farming will be implemented, taking account of the level of protection of the aquatic environment.

Incentives will be created for fish farming solutions that reduce nutrient emissions and are based on the circular economy (e.g. recirculating aquaculture system, Baltic Sea feed).

Research and product development of fisheries and development of new technologies will be supported e.g. by allocating EMFF funding.

Increased use of domestic fish species will be encouraged in various ways. Use of domestic fish in public procurement will be promoted.
Generational renewal and start-up of new entrepreneurs in the commercial fisheries sector will be promoted.

Fish processing will be treated in the same way as other food industry sectors with respect to investment aid.

Exports of fish products will be promoted.

New kinds of financial instruments will be devised to promote the development of the sector.

Practising fishing in a way that secures viable and sustainable fish stocks

Fishing quotas based on scientific advice will be promoted in the EU. Effective measures will be taken to combat illegal fishing.
Science-based and reactive regulation of salmon fishing at sea and in rivers will be carried out to improve the status of Baltic wild salmon stocks. Fishing will be regulated in a way that does not compromise the genetic diversity of the stocks.

Stocks will be regulated and managed in cooperation between different actors, including local people, owners of water areas, organisations and business operators.

The National Salmon and Sea Trout Strategy to 2020 will be implemented. Implementation of the strategy will be evaluated and a decision made on whether it should continue or be updated.

A strong focus will be placed on research concerning fish stocks.

Ensuring conditions for commercial fishery and reducing damage

The Management Plan for the Finnish Seal Population in the Baltic Sea will be implemented. Techniques, equipment and practices that prevent damage will be developed and supported.

A compensation system will be introduced with respect to the costs of removing seals that cause damage.

A strategy for the great black cormorant will be prepared and implemented to control the population and prevent damage.

Procedures for obtaining derogations allowing the hunting of great black cormorants will be streamlined.

Recreational fishery as a popular and sustainable leisure activity Development of fishing tourism in a sustainable manner

The Development Strategy for Recreational Fishery will be implemented.

A reporting system for migratory fish catches will be introduced concerning all fish caught.

The development of fishing tourism will be promoted (especially in state-owned waters) and its impact on regional economies boosted. The Action Plan for Fishing Tourism will be revised.

Attention will be given to the good management of fishing waters by securing funding for water restoration projects and ensuring a sufficient amount of funds collected as fisheries management fees. The impact of fisheries management fees and the way they are directed towards maintaining fish stocks and fishing waters will be improved.

Developing hunting as a nature-based leisure activity that benefits society

Conditions for hunting will be ensured and attention given to attracting new enthusiasts.

Consideration will be given to the role of hunting in nature, game and wildlife management and in preventing invasive alien species.

Game animal populations will be managed sustainably and damage reduced. Conditions will be ensured for providing executive assistance in incidents involving large carnivores.

A diverse set of tools will be used in large carnivore policy, including hunting based on population estimates and management plans, derogations, prevention of damage and proactive communication. In large carnivore policy dialogue between different stakeholders will be increased and permanent funding secured for research and monitoring. Finland will be active in the EU in seeking to win recognition for our special national characteristics and allow for more flexibility and room to manoeuvre in large carnivore policy.

Promotion of active, sustainable and improved reindeer husbandry

The support system for reindeer husbandry will be developed and investment support for the sector ensured.

The development of reindeer husbandry as a profitable, sustainable and culturally significant sector will be promoted.

Conflicts between reindeer husbandry and other forms of land use will be reduced. Amendments will be made to the legislation concerning the assessment of and compensation for damage caused by reindeer.