Economic framework conditions, productivity and competitiveness of Nordic and Baltic agriculture and food industries

Time: 12-13 February, 2014
Place: Tartu, Estonia

The seminar had 35 participants from Estonia, Norway, Finland, Denmark, Sweden, Latvia and Hungary, 31 from universities and research institutes and four from other organisations (including farmers' organisations and ministries). At the seminar, 29 oral presentations were given, of which three were keynote speeches: These were by Kostas Karantininis, on Organisational dynamics and competitiveness of European agri-food value chains - a Nordic perspective; Csaba Jansik, on Competitiveness of dairy supply chains around the Baltic Sea; and Mogens Lund, on The relationship between animal welfare and economic outcome at the farm level - A quantitative study of Danish pig producers. The remaining 26 presentations were organised in eight thematic sessions, spanning the topics: Factors in agricultural productivity; product differentiation to increase competitiveness; comparative analyses of competition and productivity; competition and rural development; the role of framework conditions; and methodological advances within productivity analysis.

Overall, the presentations reported research activities and results of high scientific quality, and almost all presentations were followed by good and constructive discussions among the participants. The presentations demonstrated a number of common challenges for the competitiveness of the agri-food sector in the Nordic and Baltic countries. The presentations and the discussions also demonstrated that there is an active community of agricultural economics researchers within the Nordic and Baltic countries in the field of productivity analysis, and this could be a good platform for stronger Nordic-Baltic collaboration within these fields in the future.

The seminar was held at Dorpat Conference Center in Tartu and the facilities for the seminar were excellent, thanks to the Dorpat Conference Centre and the team from the Institute of Economics and Social Science at the Estonian University of Life Sciences. The Estonian Ministry of Agriculture provided support for the seminar. At the end of the seminar, excursions to two different food processing companies in the Tartu area were organised: One to Salvest fruit and vegetable processing company and one to Tartu Mills.

Organising committee

  • Rando Varnik, Estonia (coordinator of the local organising team)
  • Csaba Jansik, Finland
  • Gudbrand Lien, Norway
  • Baiba Rivza, Latvia
  • Yves Surry, Sweden
  • Jørgen Dejgaard Jensen, Denmark (chairman).