estoniaPublic Sector

Ministry of Agriculture

Governmental or ministry-based extension organizations

Rural Development Foundation - Coordinating Centre: Maaelu Edendamise Sihtasutus, MES 

Agricultural extension and advisory services in Estonia have been decentralized. Farm advisory services are provided by local advisory centers mainly related to producers or farmers’ unions. Most of them are private companies or non-profit organizations. There are 15 local advisory centers in total, one in each county.The centers provide farmers with both advice and information in their respective counties. It is mandatory for each center to have at least five advisers who hold a professional certificate in the areas of crop and livestock farming and finance. Besides, each center must have at least one adviser who has passed cross compliance training and one advisor who has passed occupational safety training. It up to the center whether it will provide additional services to farmers such as book-keeping, etc.

The history of Estonian extension service goes back to 1989 and it has been changing  ever since. In 2005, the role of the Coordinating Center of the Farm Advisory System was transferred to the Estonian Chamber of Agriculture and Commerce. However, since 1 January 2010, the Farm Advisory System is being coordinated by the Agricultural and Rural Economy Advisory Coordinating Eenter (Estonian Rural Development Foundation). The Coordinating Center has been designated to ensure the functioning of the Farm Advisory System, including the dissemination of information on state measures and the availability of quality advice. The Coordinating Center provides occupation for area coordinators (crop farming, livestock farming, finance and rural development), whose responsibility is to give local advisory centers information, organize trainings for advisers etc. The center prepares action and training plans, analyses advisers’ work, applies a simplified advising system, organizes the payment of advisers’ basic fee, implements a mentoring system and maintains the portal. It also develops advisory tools and advertises advisory services, seeks possibilities to cooperate with other organizations, looks for new advisers, etc.

The advisors of Estonian Farm Advisory System are all working for a local center on contractual basis. However, they have very different contracts – some of them are paid staff, but most advisors are self-employed.

The Farm Advisory Services and the Farm Advisory System are financed from the state budget, from the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and by farmers. 

The Estonian Rural Development Plan 2007–2013 (hereinafter the ERDP) covers the period from January 1, 2007 to the end of 2013. The ERDP was prepared to support the regionally balanced development of rural areas through the European Union (hereinafter the EU) Common Agricultural Policy (hereinafter the CAP) measures. The submeasure “Support for advisory system and services” of the ERDP 2007–2013 was opened at the end of 2007. The overall objective of the measure is to support the availability of advisory services foreseen for agricultural producers and private forest holders. Supported activities are individual advisory services for agricultural producers and private forest holders. Support payments make up about 80% of the expenses of advisory service but not more than 1,279 EUR a year. Under this submeasure, advisory centers or the coordinating center were able to apply for support and to develop the availability of advisory service. An advisory center is granted 1,600–25,500 EUR a year and the coordinating center is granted 6,000–120,000 EUR of support annually. Support was available for specific purposes, such as organizing the work of the center, improving the rooms, covering the costs of advisory products, training and field training of advisers, and buying advisers’ work equipment.

Diana Laur 
Ministry of Agriculture Republic of Estonia 
Chief Specialist of the Research and Development Department

List of Extension Providers

icon target The following list shows an excerpt from the GFRAS Directory of Extension Providers for Egypt. Some of these entries may be specially marked for having more detailed information in the database of the Worldwide Extension Study WWES.