Latvia, a member of the European Union since 2004, is a small, dynamic and open economy that has successfully transitioned from central planning to a market economy. The reforms undertaken have driven progress, although from generally low levels and at a slower pace in agriculture than for the economy as a whole. This report examines the conditions under which farms and businesses in the food and agriculture sector in Latvia undertake innovation to become more productive and environmentally sustainable. It identifies opportunities as well as challenges that need to be addressed. These include economy wide skills shortage, emigration and population decline and urban concentration of population and services. At the sectoral level, these include the use of agricultural payments to support a large number of non-commercial farms and the high level of unpaid farm labour. To meet these challenges, agricultural innovation can be harnessed to improve the sector’s productivity, as well as the sustainability and efficiency of the food system. This report provides a series of recommendations that should allow agricultural policies to contribute to a well-functioning innovation system that can meet the challenges that lie ahead.
This rapid policy assessment focused on supporting the unemployed in business creation and self-employment, notably the Measure for Commencing Commercial Activity or Self-employment is organised and promoted by the State Employment Agency.