Smart agricultural deal for Baltic Sea
The Baltic Deal project brings together farmers’ advisory organisations from around the Baltic Sea in an effort to increase the level of expertise in agri-environmental practices and measures. The support structure is helping farmers reduce nutrient losses from farms and boost production and competitiveness in the region.
Projects such as this are helping the EU to become a smart, sustainable and inclusive economy by 2020, as set out in the EU 2020 growth strategy. The EU is facing some tough challenges, including an ageing population, an insufficiently qualified workforce, the need for greater innovation, striking a balance between economic growth and environmental degradation, and ensuring secure, clean energy supplies. Regional policy projects across the EU are playing an active role in dealing with these and many other challenges, by undertaking projects designed to generate employment, raise educational achievement, develop renewable energy sources, boost productivity and give all citizens access to opportunities. The projects and the regions play a pivotal role in this, as they generate real results that contribute to achieving the strategy’s key goals.
The six countries involved are part of a network of more than 100 farms that are demonstrating, documenting and disseminating best practices and measures, all working towards more sustainable agriculture in the region.
Sustainable growth through nutrient management
The eutrophication status of the Baltic Sea remains unsatisfactory, despite decreased nutrient loads in recent decades. The problem of farm nutrient run-off entering the Baltic Sea is recognised by farming federations in all countries surrounding the Baltic Sea. With sustainable growth as a central theme, the Baltic Deal is already providing advisory organisations with improved, cost-efficient methods and tools. This multi-country project involving Latvia, Sweden, Finland, Lithuania, Poland and Denmark has over 30 associated partners in all nine countries around the Baltic Sea, including Russia.
Channelling resources the smart way
Under the project, around 30 interviews were conducted at Saaremaa, Hiiumaa, Åland, Gotland, Öland and Bornholm, to get an overview of farmers’ attitudes towards environmental measures and also the future of farming. Based on these and other sources of information, project partners are producing baseline studies, a common strategy for developing agri-environmental advisory services, a toolbox for advisors, a joint internet platform and ICT solutions, a local vision on sustainable development, a branded network of demonstration farms and handbooks.
Other results include a common strategy with selected approaches that are tested, evaluated and fine-tuned in selected pilot regions, such as the B7 Islands, the seven largest islands in the Baltic Sea, contributing further to a less eutrophied Baltic Sea. Examples of tested measures include improved fertilisation methods, manure management and treatment of run-off waters.