The Latvian Land Fund set up by Latvian development bank Altum has acquired 629 hectares of farmland for €1.13 million since it was set up in July last year, according to The Baltic Macroeconomic Review.
The fund has bought the properties in 43 parcels, mostly located in Zemgale and Vidzeme provinces. All 629 hectares are thought to be buy-and-lease farmland assets.
Altum’s deputy chairman Jacob Krievins told a local business paper last year: “Altum plans to purchase plots of land that are at least five hectares in size,” and added the fund would take a cautious approach to avoid risk.
Buying agricultural land in Latvia can face restrictions; although European Union citizens have been technically free to purchase Latvian agricultural property since 2014, companies holding agricultural land can no longer include shareholders from outside the European Union, Switzerland or the European Economic Area.
The European Commission opened an infringement procedure against Latvia in April last year as a result of disproportionate restrictions on EU citizens buying land.
However, investment in agriculture continues, both on an EU and private level. The Rural Development Programme (RDP) for Latvia approved by the European Commission in 2015 prioritises competitiveness and improved infrastructure for Latvia’s agricultural sector, for which around €1.5 billion has been made available between 2014-2020.