Rural development program
Rural development work is based on the principle that the well-being of rural Finland is vital and beneficial for the whole country. 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. It is run by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, who also run the Rural.fi website.
Rural Development Programme provides 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.
What is Leader?
Leader is a local development method used to engage local actors in the design and delivery of strategies, decision-making and resource allocation for the development of their rural areas.
The method has been in use for more than 20 years and it is implemented by around 2600 Local Action Groups (LAGs). It covers over 54 % of the rural population in the EU and brings together public, private and civil-society stakeholders.
In the rural development context, LEADER is implemented under the national and regional Rural Development Programmes of each EU Member State, co-financed by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development.
Southwest Finland has five Leader groups:
- Ravakka (Laitila, Mynämäki, Pyhäranta, Uusikaupunki, Vehmaa)
- Sameboat LAG (Kemiönsaari, Kustavi, Parainen)
- Ykkösakseli (Salo)
- Varsin Hyvä (Turku, Kaarina, Lieto, Masku, Naantali, Nousiainen, Paimio, Raisio, Rusko, Sauvo, Taivassalo)
- LAG South West Riverside (Aura, Koski TL, Loimaa, Marttila, Oripää, Pöytyä, Somero, Tarvasjoki)
ELY Centre develops the vitality of the coutryside
ELY Centre (Center for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment) is responsible for developing rural industries and ensuring the vitality of the Southwest Finlands countryside. The aim is to improve the competitiveness of the agricultural and forestry sector and promote the fisheries sector and other rural industries. ELY Centres support investments and development activities of agricultural farms, SMEs engaged in first processing of agricultural products and rural microenterprises. Support may also be granted to development projects that promote business opportunities and encourage people to set up businesses and existing entrepreneurs to develop their activities.
ELY Centre in Southwest Finland: 0295 022 500