Introduction to agriculture in Latvia

Latvia is the middle of the three Baltic States, which regained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. Slavic-speaking minority, mostly Russians make up over a third of the population, and they master a significant portion of the private sector.

After the Soviet Union’s annexation of the Baltic countries in 1940, Latvia became a part of the Soviet plan economy. After the Soviet Union disintegration in 1991 was the market economy reintroduced. The transition from plan economy to market economy led to a sharp drop in production both in industry and in agriculture with high unemployment and a general decline in living standards as a result.

Latvia is a democratic parliamentary republic. The constitution is from 1922. It was restored in 1993 and amended in 1997. The dominant language is Latvian, spoken by about 59% of the population (2005). From 1989 is Latvian the only official language. Russian is spoken by about 29%.

In March 2004, Latvia became member of NATO and on May 1st it became member of the European Union, along with nine other Central and Eastern European countries.

Latvia implemented an expansionary economic policy based on debt. The growth was not based on manufacturing and exporting, but in construction, housing and luxuries and when the bubble burst, the damage was much greater because the underlying production was limited and the Latvian households savings low.

The global economic crisis hit Latvia hard. In 2008 alone, GDP fell by 10.5%, followed by a further drop of 17.8% in 2009. The unemployment rate increased from 7% in December 2008 to 14.3% in March 2009 and further to 22.3% in March 2010, and the youth unemployment rate nearly doubled to 44.9%. The highest unemployment rate in the EU.

Latvia is regaining economic momentum. From 2011 to 2013 the average growth of the Latvian economy of 4.7% annually, Latvia was thus among the fastest growing economies in the EU. We believe that it right now is a good time to invest in Latvian agriculture.

Agriculture represents about 4% of GDP and employs 15% of the population. Agriculture is mainly concerned with livestock, also cereal, sugar beet, potatoes and vegetables. Latvia's forestry is export oriented, partly as raw wood, but also a part as processed wood.

Latvia's landscape is formed by deposits from the last ice age and is predominantly lowlands of moraine and NW-SE-reaching valleys and ridges; only in a few places, hills reach 300 meters height. The quality of farmland varies greatly and it is a good idea to study soil composition, formation and classification and to test the underlying layer profiles. It is not sufficient to assess and take sample from the topsoil. One can experience fairly light topsoil, but the underlying layers make it very fertile, or vice versa.

It is still possible to acquire a large and efficient agricultural land in Latvia. Land can be purchased at very reasonable prices, but if the land is very cheap, there is often a reason for it. One should investigate the matter thoroughly before signing.

The rules for purchase of agricultural land have been tightened. Typically, it is now only people with agricultural education and who are living from farming, who can buy a farm, but a agriculture can still be purchased by purchasing a Latvian company that owns land or a farm.

Please find current agricultural farms for sale    in Poland and Latvia.