Competitiveness of agriculture
Ensuring and improving the competitiveness of agriculture is important. Competitiveness depends on price ratios, profitability and productivity, and it is reflected, for example, in the unit cost level of products.
There are many different factors undermining the competitiveness of Finnish agriculture. In Finland, crop yields are lower than in southern EU countries. The short growing season increases the need for storage buildings. Distances are also long. Due to historical reasons, Finnish farms are smaller than in, for instance, Sweden and Denmark.
The number of farms in Finland is decreasing by approximately three per cent a year. At the same time, the remaining farms are growing larger in terms of hectares of land and the number of animals. Production volumes per farm are increasing, which improves competitiveness, for example, by providing better opportunities to use modern production methods. The efficiency of production must be constantly improved to ensure competitiveness and maintain food production.
Developing agriculture and ensuring its competitiveness require a great deal of capital. Investment support plays a key role in farm investments. Setting up and retirement support are important in facilitating generation changes. Animal welfare and environmental issues are taken into account in decisions concerning all forms of investment and setting up support. Some investment support is targeted directly at investments in animal welfare and the environment. That will also increase the demand for domestic foodstuffs among consumers.