The Competitiveness of Estonian Agriculture: the Situation and Future Prospects
Considering the important social functions played by agriculture, which besides ensuring population density and jobs in the countryside, ensures the self-sufficiency of food production, the importance of agriculture should be much greater than it is currently.
Unfortunately, due to poor competitive conditions, Estonian agriculture has since 1990 lost nearly three-quarters of its share of GDP and jobs. The level of self-sufficiency fell so much during the transition period that currently a major part of consumption is covered by imports. The future does not look all bad, however, since accession to the European Union will improve markedly the international competitive position of Estonian agriculture. Thus a rise in the manufacturing level and improvement of self-sufficiency is imminent in the next few years. Estonian agriculture’s natural resource base is in itself fairly good, since due to relatively thin population density, we have much more per capita cropland than the European Union average. Land is also very cheap compared to industrialized countries.