Southeast Estonia has a diverse food industry that also uses local ecological raw materials. Strong export markets have developed in the application of food products and technology. The economic environment with the cleanest natural environment in the region welcomes new investors with a green vision and plans.

15 000
employees in the Estonian food industry
exported products
for global science education
to facilitate business worldwide


The food sector in the Southeast Estonia region values clean and local organic food, it´s ecology, as well as its connection with a rich and nature-oriented cultural heritage.

The local food traditions have been preserved here for centuries, embracing the influences of Russian, German and Swedish cuisine.

The ability to develop and produce extremely delicious food suitable for the masses is very deeply rooted in several Southeast Estonian cities – Valga and Otepää (meat industry), Võru
(cheese industry) and Põlva (dairy industry). In Southeast Estonia, thousands of people are involved in the food sector. This is a very significant competence that also creates benefits for newcomers in the region. It is possible to employ highly valued engineers and
technologists here. The Competence Centre for Knowledge-Based Health Goods and Natural Products, the services of which are eagerly used, is located nearby at the Polli Holticultural Research Centre of the Estonian University of Life Sciences.

Awareness of health and ecological production has grown over time and has become an integral part of most food production companies in Southeast Estonia. One of the rural municipalities in Southeast Estonia, Põlva County, has adopted the motto ‘Greener Life’. In the spirit of this motto, other companies in the region are also trying to reduce their ecological footprint by developing cleaner and more natural products, at the same time adhering to the region’s traditions and cultural heritage.

With the modernisation of the dairy industry, several new animal farms have been established here in the last decade. Traditional production processes are robotised, automated and provided with digital solutions.

Alongside large modernised industries, many new family and small businesses have emerged in this millennium, which are able to find both the necessary labour and the market for selling their products. This can mainly be seen in the production of dairy and meat products.

Innovative biotechnology and bioinformatics are also being actively developed in Estonian agriculture. This includes the use of molecular markers in animal breeding and the cultivation
of new plant varieties, as well as the diagnostics of pathogen DNA and the biotechnology of food products and animal feed. In order to increase the quality and quantity of the local
harvest, efforts are being made to create plant varieties that are more frost-hardy and disease-resistant. These, in turn, help reduce the use of herbicides and make the entire production process greener and more competitive. The field of biotechnology is challenging, but it is also difficult to start this type of business, as it is strongly related to research as well as time-consuming and costly product development.

Several foreign investors are already operating in the Southeast Estonia region. New investments are primarily expected for more intensive marketing activities targeted
towards Europe and Asia.

Success stories of the food industry in Southeast

Cristella VT

Arke Lihatööstus

Atria Eesti

Põlva Agro

Chaga Health


The map of organic areas in Estonia provides an overview of organic fields, harvesting areas and organic apiaries. On the International Air Surveillance Map, you will find real-time air surveillance results from all around the world.

For more information about the sector, send us the questions and inquiries with the e-consulting application.

Need more information?

Doing business in Estonia – how does it work? How to benefit from e-solutions and the peculiarities of our business culture? What are the opportunities in specific sectors? Who are the cooperation partners?

Southeast Estonian county business experts and investor consultants help and support the preparation of investments and finding cooperation partners in the Võru, Valga and Põlva regions. Our team is happy to help you with a free e-consultation service