Estonian producers can supply the population adequately among basic food products with milk, meat, grain and potatoes but in order to improve food security, vegetable growing has to be increased, LETA/Postimees Online reports.
The Estonian Defence Industry Union (EDFU) and the Chamber of Agriculture and Commerce signed on Tuesday a cooperation project to guarantee the food security of the Estonian people. The aim of the food security is that in every country, people should be supplied with food at any time, be it peace, crisis or war time, said EDFU head Andres Parve.
Estonian Chamber of Agriculture and Commerce manager Roomet Sõrmus added that this means that the local food production has to be developed so that at any time, it would be possible to feed people with local food. The best food security is when we have guaranteed in the most important food production spheres the level of self-supply.
Since Estonia joined the European Union, the agriculture and food sector has developed fast. While in 2004, import of food products and agricultural produce exceeded exports by around 40%, today the deficit is around 20%. Still, we import 200-350 million euros worth food more a year than export it, said Sõrmus.
Estonia can produce 160-170% of milk consumed in the state; the situation is excellent also in fisheries and grain production. In meat production 40% of chicken is imported as well as 20% of beef. Pork production satisfies the level of consumption but data reveal that import of pork forms a whole 70% of consumption, i.e. a lot of meat is exported as live cattle. In the vegetables sector, the self supply level is below 70% and in berries and fresh fruit sector just 10%.
Defence minister Urmas Reinsalu said that the state has plans for crisis and war situations and food supplies are guaranteed to the Defence Forces and population.