Rural Development Programme for Mainland Finland 2014–2020
The Rural Development Programme for Mainland Finland – the Rural Development Programme for short – is a tool for making the Finnish countryside a better place to live in.
The three focus areas are the following:
- Promote bioeconomy and, as part of it, agriculture that is economically, socially and ecologically sustainable and ethically acceptable
- Diversify rural industries and create employment by improving the competitiveness of businesses, supporting new entrepreneurship and promoting the networking of companies.
- Improve vitality and quality of life in rural areas by strengthening independent local activities
- The strategy is coordinated by the rural development unit of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.
Finland’s Rural Development Strategy for the period 2014–2020 focuses on:
- Improved skills and dissemination of information, and more innovations and co-operation in rural areas
- More effective climate change mitigation and adaptation
- Increased biodiversity, improved status of water bodies and soil in agricultural use
- Diversification of rural enterprising and higher employment, better services and improved possibilities for participation
- Improved competitiveness of agricultural production
- Rural enterprises respond to consumer demand and values by producing high-quality food and by improving animal welfare
The tools of the programme
The tools of the programme are called measures, and the programme is implemented through them. Such measures are associated with opportunities for obtaining support that are available to everyone. The measures available in Finland are the following:
• Training and provision of information
• Provision of advice
• Investments in physical property
• Various forms of start-up support
• Development of economic activities and farms
• Development of services and villages
• Environmental compensation payments
• Organic production
• Natural handicap payments
• Animal welfare
For more detailed descriptions of the wide-ranging opportunities presented by the programme, follow the link to see the entire programme document.
Who benefits from the Rural Development Programme and how?
The Rural Development Programme benefits farmers, enterprises and residents in rural areas as well as the environment as a whole. The network of operators working within the scope of the programme also includes various educational institutions, development organisations, municipalities and local Leader action groups.
Funding under the programme is allocated to agricultural entrepreneurs as compensation for farming in Finland’s northern conditions and for environmental work in agriculture. Environmental compensation provides significant opportunities for promoting environmental issues not only on farms but also in a wider context. The programme includes the provision of advice and training that contributes to increased understanding regarding energy efficiency, environmental issues and animal welfare. Farms may also receive subsidies for various investments aimed at increasing their competitiveness and enhancing the environmentally friendly aspect of their operations.
Enterprises in rural areas
Small and medium-sized enterprises in rural areas play an important role in providing employment, with the Rural Development Programme aiding them in starting, diversifying and growing their business operations. Enterprises receive subsidies for various purposes including product development, marketing, testing of new concepts, globalisation and collaboration. The programme aims to create practical conditions for bioeconomy in which the process of putting research and existing knowledge to good use is of major importance.
People living in rural areas
People living in rural areas can take advantage of the programme to develop their living environment in a more attractive direction, make their area more accessible and improve its services.
The programme supports new technology and methods that can be used to develop services. Bringing enhanced broadband connections to rural areas will provide businesses operating in those areas with better opportunities and make such areas more attractive as a living environment.
Development organisations, municipalities, enterprises and people can together draft local, regional and international projects that support the development of various sources of livelihood, skills and services.
Rural.fi: Rural development programme
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The Rural Development Programme for Mainland Finland will continue to develop the countryside to make it even more viral than before.