Non-traditional agriculture

One of the most ancient non-traditional sectors of agriculture in Latvia is fur animal farming focusing on production of furs. The major part of fur produced in Latvia is sold in international auctions. The mere existence of fur farms provides a considerable support to other sectors of agriculture, securing outlets for its products because fur animals are reared mainly on products originating in Latvia: grain, waste of fish processing, animal by-products not fit for human consumption.
One of the most stable non-traditional sectors of agriculture is rabbit breeding, which has all the possibilities for further development and enlargement of the number of herds. The rabbit breeding is characteristic for its short cycle, yielding qualitative meat and furs, as well as it actively participates in tourism. In Latvia, mainly meat breeds of rabbits are bred as well as rabbits are reared as pet animals. The sector is aiming, as much as possible, to yield better quality of products and in larger quantity.

In Latvia, farming of game animals in confined areas, is becoming more and more popular. This non-traditional sector of agriculture is characteristic for a high efficiency, ensuring production of game meat and trophies and organization of hunting events.  Farming of game animals ensures the use of low-value land for agricultural purposes, facilitates the development of tourism, increases employment opportunities, offers meat and antlers for exports.

In Latvia a purposeful rearing of edible snails started already in mid 90s, but it activated only recently. Currently, there are two species of edible snails reared in Latvia -  park snails -Helixpomatia and (quick-growing)orchard snails - Helixpomatia. In Latvia, a serious perspective can have park snails, which have been well-adjusted to our climatic conditions.

Growing of earthworms is one of the latest trends in non-traditional agriculture that is rapidly gaining popularity, because there is a high demand for bio-humus produced by earthworms both in Latvia and abroad. Earthworms are grown both for production of bio-humus and for angling, as additional feed for young poultry and young pigs (as animal feed additive), as well as for processing into proteins. In the process of growing of earthworms, organic waste is being processed (manure, plant and food waste that is beneficial for the environment.

Source: Agricultural Data Center, Central Statistical Bureau, Latvian Beekeepers’ Association

Fig. 2. Amount of honey production

Honey production, tons    Number of bee-families     Average yield per bee -family