Rural development program

Rural development in Finland is based on two parallel programmes: the Rural Development Programme for Mainland Finland and the Rural Development Programme for the Åland Islands. The programme for the mainland is run by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, who also run the website. The programme for Åland is administered by the Åland's autonomous regional government.

These wide-ranging programmes provide a variety of tools that can be used by all kinds of stakeholders to promote rural development. This work involves farmers, rural enterprises, rural residents and their organisations, as well as Leader Local Action Groups (LAGs) and ultimately everyone interested in the future of the Finnish countryside.

Rural development work is based on the principle that the well-being of rural Finland is vital and beneficial for the whole country.

Rural development in Finland

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.
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 three focus areas are the following:
1. Promote bioeconomy and, as part of it, agriculture that is economically, socially and ecologically sustainable and ethically acceptable
2. Diversify rural industries and create employment by improving the competitiveness of businesses, supporting new entrepreneurship and promoting the networking of companies.
3. 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.

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
• Cooperation
• Leader
For more detailed descriptions of the wide-ranging opportunities presented by the programme, follow the link to see the entire programme document.