The Estonian Agriculture Ministry is initiating a stimulating policy of increasing agriculture subsidies paid to people younger than 40 years old who take up the plough in an effort to revitalize the countryside.
The 25 percent bonus for the first 39 hectares would be payable in the first five years of activity for newly-turned farmers, according to the long-term plan by the ministry, the Estonian Public Broadcasting (ERR) reported on Tuesday.
"Only 7 percent of agriculture workers in Estonia are under 35 and one-third are 65 and up. We have to reduce the youth shortage in agriculture," said Agriculture Minister Ivari Padar.
Padar said the measure would help keep rural areas populated. "Broadly, bringing younger people to agriculture would be strategically important for the Estonian state from the standpoint of the food supply and vital rural areas."
It is estimated that next year there would be up to 4,200 potential producers who could get the support for a total 32,900 hectares.
If it goes forward, the young farmer support idea would involve reapportioning the main pool of over 900 million euros in direct subsidies paid between 2014 and 2020 from the EU. Implementation of the idea would be decided each year for the subsequent year.