After restoration of the Republic of Latvia’s sovereignty, agricultural management tasks and functions changed considerably. Under the Soviet power, the Ministry of Agriculture (later – the Agri-industrial Committee subordinated directly to the USSR Agri-industrial Committee) had the major task to work out and implement production plans as part of the State economic management, to distribute finance, material and technical resources, to control execution of plans, to calculate and endorse wholesale and retail prices for agricultural products and food, to ensure supplies of the planned volumes of agricultural products and food to USSR central funds.
Radical changes occurred in agriculture after Latvia recovered its independence. By the decision of then Latvia’s Council of Ministers of July 31, 1990, the Republic of Latvia Ministry of Agriculture was founded, which was delegated the task to develop and implement a normative basis for agricultural sector of the newly-restored State. The Ministry’s competence was the development and implementation of the State agrarian policy in Latvia, irrespective of what ownership type the production means belonged to, as well as it was responsible for the development of entire sector of agriculture and food industry and the use of natural resources.
One of the most significant tasks was to re-orient the sector of agriculture and food towards market economy, based on privatized agricultural farms and food industry. At that time, the foundation was laid for a free agriculture in Latvia, laws on agrarian reform and land reform were developed, the cadaster system was restored, liberalization of prices or transition to market prices happened. The Land Service, Veterinary Service and agricultural advisory system was established, the Academy of Agricultural and Forest Sciences, the State Mortgage and Land Bank were founded. The Veterinary Service was the first of Latvia’s institutions admitted to the European Union associated structures.
From 1990 to 1993, the newly-founded Ministry of Agriculture was administrated by Dainis Ģēģeris, and he was the one of who in January 1991, organized and managed arrival of heavy agricultural and transport machinery to Riga and building of barricades there. On the 16th floor of the Ministry’s building, there was the Barricades Coordination Center set up, where during the barricades employees of the Ministry of Agriculture worked around the clock.
While approving the statutes of the Ministry of Agriculture, new tasks and functions were incorporated, the new structure of the Ministry’s management was approved. Although this was the transition period when a large part of land and buildings transferred into private ownership, some functions of the former Ministry were partly maintained.
The next major structural reorganization of the agricultural sector was carried out in February 1997. The major task of the new structure was to bring functions of the Ministry of Agriculture nearer to the sectors in order to facilitate the development of agricultural production.
A considerable reorganization took place at the Ministry of Agriculture in early 2000, when the Rural Support Service (RSS) was established and when the RSS regional agricultural departments started their operation. Important developments also occurred in the Ministry’s history from 2002 to 2004 when Latvia joined the European Union.
Since 2004, Latvia’s agricultural policy is being implemented in compliance with EU Common Agricultural Policy. During these years, Latvia’s agriculture became a competitive participant on EU and world markets.
Currently, the Ministry of Agriculture is responsible for Latvia’s agriculture, forestry, fisheries and also rural development.