Baltic Deal reduces water pollution around the Baltic Sea

An innovative knowledge exchange project has helped to spread sustainable agricultural practice and benefited the environment across seven countries in the Baltic Sea region.

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A Baltic Deal study tour in Denmark where the participants learned more about wetlands. A Baltic Deal study tour in Denmark where the participants learned more about wetlands.

" Baltic Deal has created a successful platform for the transfer of knowledge between people and across borders. 2 500 farmers and 300 advisors have been reached and many of them participated in different events.We can see that farmers’ awareness of environmental problems and possible solutions has increased. In all 117 demonstration farms involved in the project, various measures reducing nutrient losses are already implemented or planned for the near future. "

Kaspars Žūriņš, Project manager

A particular focus of the Baltic Deal project has been improving the efficient use of nutrients to reduce nutrient losses from farms. The run-off of vaccines and fertilisers can cause serious environmental pollution to ecosystems, the water table, rivers, lakes and the sea and can trigger a process known as eutrophication which can cause algal blooms and lead to a loss of biodiversity.

In pilot areas, such as the seven largest islands in the Baltic Sea, farmers tested how to reduce this run-off in a cost-effective way. Tested methods of reducing nutrient loss included, for example, using plant cover outside the growing season, improving fertilisation techniques, improving manure management, and treating run-off water.

Demonstration farms

Following the pilot activities, a network of 117 demonstration farms was established throughout the seven partner countries which aim to show that greener farming methods can be introduced without reducing production levels or competitiveness.

The project network allows farmers and advisory services to learn from each other by attending study trips in their own countries as well as in other countries around the Baltic Sea region. They have also taken part in conferences, exchange activities, seminars, workshops and training courses.

In addition, a project website was created with the aim of providing a tool-box and source of knowledge for advisers and farmers. The website is regularly updated with new information, results and news.

As well as the lead organisations in the seven partner countries, the Baltic Deal project also has over 30 associated partners in all nine countries around the Baltic Sea, including Russia and Germany. The associated partners are farmers’ associations, advisory services, ministries and other agricultural institutes and organisations.

Total investment and EU funding

The “Baltic Deal” project had a total budget EUR 3 786 140 of which the EU’s European Regional Development Fund contributed EUR 2 973 510 through the cross-border Baltic Sea Region Programme 2007-2013.

Draft date

08/09/2014

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