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Ombudsman submits annual report for 2021 to agriculture minister

Peter Svetina, the human rights ombudsman, has held a get-to-know-you meeting with Irena Šinko, the minister of agriculture, forestry and food, at the offices of the ombudsman, where he delivered his annual report for 2021.

He said that he has most often encountered farmers’ problems when working in the field. He expressed his conviction that awareness of the importance of concern for the environment is essential at a time when agricultural production, forestry and fishing face numerous challenges and pressures because of climate change. “My colleagues and I continually draw attention to a number of important aspects of this area, for example issues with the siting of residential buildings in agricultural areas, or coexistence between farmers and other residents when land is under intensive cultivation, such as hopfields and permanent plantations,” he said.

He briefed the minister on certain other matters under the lens of the ombudsman, such as the broader issue of rural poverty, the long-term decision-making by the Agency for Agricultural Markets and Rural Development, and the Farmland and Forest Fund’s activities with regard to farmland under state ownership.

Mr Svetina reiterated that it is necessary to constantly seek a balance between different needs, and to maintain people’s quality of life despite economic or agricultural pressures. “Finding a balance is the job of the government and its various departments, who when designing agricultural policy must follow the guidelines of sustainable development, and should not make even greater demands on our already overburdened environment or diminish people’s quality of life,” he clarified.