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 23 % of the total output in manufacturing in 2017. In 2017, Latvia’s biggest trading partners were Lithuania (18% of Latvia's total trade turnover), Germany (9%), Estonia (9%), Russia (8%) and Poland (7%).
Foreign trade in Latvia has consistently increased since Latvia’s accession to the EU. 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.
Room for Improvement
Less than 0,5% of Latvia’s GDP is spent on scientific research, which represents one of the lowest scientific budgets in Europe. It is essential to facilitate constant innovation to foster internationalization and competitiveness of the country.
EIT Food Hub in Latvia: Riga Technical University (RTU)
RTU is the only polytechnic university in Latvia and the largest university in the country – it educates and trains almost 15 thousand students. RTU is focused on becoming a third generation university that not only provides high quality education, but also conducts advanced research and ensures innovation and technology transfer, practically implementing scientific discoveries. RTU is constantly developing its infrastructure by constructing a campus on Ķīpsala Island. On completion, the campus will be the most advanced engineering study centre in the Baltic Region.
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.