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Biologically diversified Latvia is one of EIT Food’s RIS countries

The Food System at the Heart of Latvia’s Economy

The food and beverage industry is the second largest industrial sector in Latvia, producing around 19 % of the total output in manufacturing in 2022. About 1360 companies and registered private merchants are active in the food processing industry.

Sector output in 2022 – EUR 2.5 billion, which has increased by EUR 0.8 billion over the last 10 years. Export proportion of total sector’s turnover in 2022 – 42.5 %.

The major players for Share of Food and Beverage Sector Turnover in 2022 were Dairy (22.2%), Meat (21.7%), Beverages (12.5%), Fish (10.4%), Bakery and farinaceous (9.2%) and Fruits and vegetables (4.3%). As for Export by Product Group in 2022, Latvia’s’ major players are Cereals, Baked goods (28.9%), Beverages, Spirits (15.6%), Dairy products (10.8%) and Fruit and vegetables, Fish and fish products, seeds, that all fall in the range of 6-7% each.

The main export markets for Latvian food-processing companies are Lithuania and Estonia. Europe is a large market that consumes many Latvian products: cheeses, butter, milk and milk powders, canned fish, fruit and berry preparations, pickles, various grains, meat products, confectionery, and alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages.

Our products can be found all over the world under our own labels, different private labels, and as ingredients in diverse foods.

Room for Improvement

For a couple of years now Latvia’s focus has been improving our national economy with a focus on bioeconomy. In the production process, renewable natural resources (plants, animals, microorganisms, etc.) are used sustainably and thoughtfully to produce food and feed, industrial products and energy. Latvia is the first of the new EU-13 member states to develop a national Bioeconomy strategy.

With this, some challenges arise and multi-sectorial and multidisciplinary work is needed to be done, which combines legislative strategy, research facilities, the education sector and industries, to come together to foster new ideas, and innovations and provide conditions to reach countries' goals and expand its potential and competitiveness in a global scale.

EIT Food Hub in Latvia: Latvia University of Life Sciences and Technologies, Latvia Investment and Development Agency, Latvian Rural Advisory and Training Centre

Latvia University of Life Sciences and Technologies (LBTU) has established itself as a prominent and influential player in the agri-food industry in Latvia. The university's commitment to science-driven methodologies and technological advancements resonates across diverse domains, from zero-residue technologies to the preservation of biologically active compounds, and the optimization of food chains while maximizing resource utilization. Equipped with cutting-edge pilot plant laboratories and sensory evaluation equipment, LBTU conducts meticulous field trials to evaluate both raw materials and finished products. Benefiting from vast expertise in cultivating traditional and non-traditional crops, as well as processing and harvesting plant materials, LBTU boasts extensive infrastructure for field and greenhouse trials across varied agro-ecological conditions.

The Latvia Investment and Development Agency (LIAA) is a state agency under the Ministry of Economics that promotes business development, investment, and innovation in Latvia. It attracts foreign direct investments by highlighting Latvia's business-friendly environment, strategic location, and skilled workforce. LIAA supports Latvian companies in expanding their international presence and enhancing exports through various programs and trade missions. The agency fosters innovation and supports startups and entrepreneurs with training, mentorship, and financial assistance.

Latvian Rural Advisory and Training Centre (LLKC) is the largest agriculture and rural advisory organization in Latvia. LLKC is advisory enterprise which is owned by the state (99%) and the Latvian Farmers Federation (1%). More than 30 years’ experience in this sector and all services of LLKC are provided by:

  • 26 regional offices throughout the whole territory of Latvia providing state and EU funded information services and advice (incl. activities of National Rural Network and Fisheries Network) and commercial services (incl. agri-environmental advice, crop, livestock, accounting, economy, trainings) and other activities.
  • 9 forest advisory offices, providing trainings, information and advice for private forest owners.

National Centre in Ozolnieki provides methodological advice for the regional offices and development of new products and services. LLKC is also leading professional development centre for professionals and employees involved in agriculture and rural development in Latvia. LLKC has created a very broad pipeline engaging pupils in preschools, schools’ youth, young entrepreneurs in rural areas.

As 50% of Latvia’s territory is forests, Latvians have strong traditions for collecting natural products - 60 000 tons of edible mushrooms and even more plants with healing qualities are picked for household needs every year.

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Impact Funding Framework

Deadline: September 01, 2025
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If you’ve got an idea that will change food systems for the better, we want to fund it.