Anne Kalmari, Chair of the Agriculture and Forestry Committee of the Finnish Parliament, welcomed the guests to the Helsinki meeting of agriculture committees of EU parliaments.
In her opening speech, Kalmari, who also chairs the meeting, stated that it was paramount for Finland to maintain its Northern agriculture:
‘From the Finnish perspective, support paid under the second pillar is extremely important in addition to the smaller direct payments to farmers. In addition to the natural constraint payments paid under the second pillar, Finland has an environment payment scheme in place which has kept our lakes clean, maintained biodiversity and helped us combat climate change. I am glad that Member States have widely accepted our need to couple our payments to production.’
Kalmari hopes that Member States can share their good practices throughout Europe. She believes that Finland can serve as a model for other Member States, for example, in how to support young farmers:
‘Finnish farmers are the youngest and most educated in Europe. I believe that we have much to contribute to a European model to facilitate generation change and to support young farmers.’
Kalmari also reminded the guests of the importance of guaranteeing clean and ethical food production, as well as of the role of agriculture in combatting climate change:
‘We should keep the use of plant protection products at a moderate level during the growing season to ensure that our waters remain clean. We must also strive to increase carbon sequestration by crops. Agriculture, forestry and biogas production may play a key role in the fight against climate change.’
Further information and a live broadcast are available at the event website.