Agricultural subsidies online
This year in Finland, farmers have for the first time been able to apply for agricultural subsidies online.There are good prospects for the use of online services in agricultural administration, as most Finns are already accustomed to using the internet.
In April, the Agency for Rural Affairs presented the opportunity to apply for supports online to some 65,000 farms, located all around the country except the semi-autonomous Åland Islands.
More than 18 per cent of farms requested codes to use the electronic service from the agency, which operates within the administrative sphere of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. To help launch the service, farmers and agricultural administrators were offered training in its use.
There was also a significant boost in the support available to users during the application process, including advice on both technical and content questions. During the peak application period in April, assistance was available in the evenings and on weekends, too.
The adoption of the electronic system was made smoother based on experiences from a pilot project last year. Agricultural producers who took part in that test run gave high marks to the electronic system and
its benefits. Some farmers have previous experience with electronic filing of bull premium applications, and with checking their own farms’ subsidy data and maps online.
The Finns as a nation are at home with the internet, which lowers
the threshold for doing business online and using web services.
According to Statistics Finland, 83 per cent of people aged 16 to 74
use the internet regularly, while nearly 80 per cent of all Finns use
it on at least a weekly basis.