SUS-CHAIN: Case Studies

LV: Latvian Association of beef cattle breeders – improvement and promotion of Latvian beef

Latvian Cattle Breeders Association (LAMCB) was founded in 1998 uniting 64 members – among them the state farm ‘Vecauce’ (study farm of Latvia University of Agriculture), organic farmers co-operative ‘Zaube’, a biological slaughterer, a number of small farms (3-4 suckling cows), as well as larger farms (about 20-40 suckling cows). The total number of farm animals within the association LAMCB exceeds 2500 cattle. Objectives of the initiative were among others to produce high quality beef for the local market, to acquire new export niches, to create new employment opportunities for rural population and to organise an environmentally friendly beef production in order to stop the depopulation of the rural areas.

In 2001 LAMCB became member of the Co-operation Council of Agricultural Organisations (LOSP) and started in 2002 to purchase animal measurement equipment and scales on their own. In 2002 and 2003 the Latvian Ministry of Agriculture (MA) and the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs funded an association’s project devoted to the elaboration of a pedigree cattle register in accordance with EU regulations. This project enables the association to keep pedigree cattle records and control respective operations. The Ministry (Ma) also subsidised the operation of the association. So pedigree related services of LAMCB can offered for half of the price to its members. In 2005 the association counted 102 members.

To support the sales of beef of the members, in 2004 LAMCB founded the co-operative ‘Laidars G’. The main tasks of the co-operative are to organise meat cattle purchasing and the export of animals and beef.

LAMCB and also the new founded co-operative ‘Laidars G’ started their activities in a quite difficult environment. Cattle breeding in Latvia is still very traditionally with breeds that are used for dairy as well as for meat. Special meat cattle breeds have not been usual. The consumption of beef is very low. Consumers are more used to the (even cheaper) pork. Beef has mostly been processed into sausages. And, extensive cattle breeding technologies are quite new in Latvia.

Against this background, it is understandable that the co-operative ‘Laidars G’ still has to struggle to increase the amount of sold animals and beef, to achieve the objectives of their initiative.

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