There is effective co-operation in rural development in Kainuu, but the goal-orientation must be strengthened

The evaluation carried out by MDI examined the implementation of the Kainuu Regional Rural Development Plan 2014–2020 and whether it was effective and met its objectives. In addition, good practices in project and business support were examined. The evaluation was carried out in the period April – September 2020, based on documentary and indicator analysis, beneficiary surveys, expert interviews and validation workshop material. The evaluation helps the Kainuu ELY Centre to develop the activities of the current programming period and to plan the activities and implementation of the EAFRD programming period 2021–2027.

The aim of the Kainuu Rural Development Plan 2014–2020 is to maintain the existing production potential of agriculture and horticulture, to permanently increase the felling volume of Kainuu’s forests, to double the turnover of the bioenergy industry and to triple the turnover of Kainuu’s nature tourism. The financial framework of the plan for the period 2014–2020 is EUR 21.6 million, of which EUR 19.6 million, or 90%, has been granted by the end of 2019. EUR 7.6 million in business support and EUR 12.0 million in project support have been granted.

The Development Plan 2014–2020 has supported the business and investments of rural companies in Kainuu, shared information on rural development, improved information, route infrastructure and networked actors. As a result of the projects, cooperation between municipalities has increased and new target groups are now interested in rural development. The thematic orientation of the development plan has been partially successful: working under the themes has increased cooperation and visibility, reduced duplication of effort and strengthened developer networks. In the future, however, special attention should be paid to the strategic choice of development themes and to the intervention logic of the entire regional rural development plan. By strengthening the continuity and connection of the needs, objectives and measures of the Kainuu Rural Development Plan, its implementation and effectiveness can be improved.

In Kainuu, the networks and cooperation of rural developers are functional and strong. In order for networks and development to continue, future efforts must however be made to attract new rural developers and to expand networking.