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Innovation, Agricultural Productivity and Sustainability in Latvia

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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.

English Latvian

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Latvian Agricultural Innovation System

This chapter describes the Latvian Agricultural Innovation System and outlines recent changes. It first provides an overview of the general innovation system; describes agricultural innovation actors and their roles in the system; outlines changes in roles and changes in themes; presents main policy instruments and monitoring mechanisms; and discusses views in the general public on agri-food innovations. It then describes main trends in public and private investments in R&D, mechanisms of funding and mechanisms to foster knowledge markets and networks. The next section presents an overview of policy incentives for the adaption of innovation, outlines the role of training and advisory services at farm level, and provides some information on adoption rates in primary agriculture and food processing. Finally, the last section outlines the participation of agricultural R&D actors in regional and international co-operation.

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