Agro-ecological Knowledge Hub


During the summer of 2020, as part of the process of constructing a strategy to foster a transition to organic and agro-ecological farming practices in the dairy sector in Latvia, Baltic Environmental Forum Latvia hosted a lively roundtable discussion attended by 11 members of the Latvian Multi-Actor Platform, including farmers, farmer organizations, an environmental NGO, researchers and government representatives from the agricultural sector.

The purpose of the meeting was to identify measures to strengthen grass-based organic dairy farming practices and to stimulate demand for organic dairy products in Latvia.

The transition strategy for the Latvia case study is focussed on increasing the economic viability of conventional and organic, largely grass-based dairy farms while preserving biodiversity in grasslands and water resource quality. Additionally, the strategy intends to foster consumer demand for organic milk products to ensure that certified organic milk is processed into organic dairy products. Presently, although 10% of the total milk production in Latvia is certified organic, only about 44% of the certified organic milk is processed as organic milk products, whereas about 41% of certified organic milk is processed into conventional milk products.

Based on discussions with stakeholders, the transition strategy proposes provision of premium support payments to dairy farms in transition to organic farming practices in the national CAP Strategic Plan (2021-2027), as well as preferential farm investment support and a higher co-financing rate to small and medium-sized conventional and organic grass-based dairy farms. To support capacity building among organic dairy farmers, it is proposed to increase and target funding for training on agro-ecological farming practices. To stimulate processing of certified organic milk to organic dairy products farmers will be further incentivized through the State Support Payment and the national CAP Strategic Plan (2021-2027) to sell their milk to organic dairies and to undertake collective actions to strengthen their position in the value chain. 

To increase consumer demand for organic dairy products, changes are proposed to the national Green Public Procurement regulation to include mandatory criteria for the purchase of organic milk and organic milk products. Similarly, it is proposed to stimulate consumer demand for organic dairy products through the introduction of a lower VAT on organic dairy products. Development of a national organic farming and food policy is seen as an overarching instrument to define national policy goals, targets and actions regarding the future development of organic farming and the organic food sector.

Read more about the LV case study here.

Text/Photo: BEF-LV