In the representative premises of the National Council of the Slovak republic at Bratislava Castle was held on 22nd September 2020 the 17 annual “Rural Day”. This traditional event was organized by the Rural Parliament in Slovakia under the auspices of the Chairperson of the Slovak National Parliament Mr Boris Kollár and in cooperation with the Parliamentary Committee for Agriculture and Environment. The Ministry of Agriculture of the Slovak republic was represented by its state secretary Mr Fecko. All Slovak partners of the PoliRural project participated with the presentation of the project with a special focus on its current foresight activity aimed at developing the common vision for more attractive rural areas in participative and inclusive way. Representatives of different national and local media were present as well. The members of the parliament, as well as the government representative, promised to actively engage themselves and participate in the process of elaboration of a new vision for the rural areas. Following the event, meetings are already scheduled to continue in the discussions.

Participants acknowledged that the problem remains that Slovak countryside is losing its traditional form, its agriculture has declined significantly in recent years, Slovakia has lost its food self-sufficiency, young people refuse to work in primary agricultural production and go to cities or abroad, and ownership relations with land are still unresolved. There are a lot of unresolved issues, and it will really be necessary to tackle them gradually together. Even at this time, with the COVID-19 pandemic, it is necessary to discuss rural problems even more than ever before, to point out the negative effects of the pandemic for rural areas and to propose current solutions.

It will really be necessary to take real action to remedy the shortcomings that have arisen. We need our municipalities and the entire agricultural sector to have the same conditions and state aid and support as they have in the developed countries of the European Union. It will be very important to pay more attention to the issues of agriculture, nature protection and securing a sufficient amount of food from our own production. After all, these are vital tasks and would deserve a higher social award, as is common abroad. There are many accumulated problems. One could begin to address this with special support for the youth to make it attractive for them to work in agriculture and with the active promotion of agriculture. Rural areas without agriculture are not rural. The Slovak ancestors lived for many centuries mainly from agricultural production, and it is a shame of losing the food self-sufficiency today. It is only recently that the widespread corona crisis has shown how important it is to be self-sufficient and not be dependent on basic food imports.

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