Vidzeme region, Latvia
In Latvia SRC plantations are still new and only some more progressive farmers started SRC business and consider it as an attractive sustinable opportunity for bioenergy produciton. The market is developed for wood chips, but SRC has no local supply chains yet. The first 40 ha plantations on industrial scale will be harvested in 2014. Only 405 ha of SRCs are reported for subsidies as planted agriculture crop in Latvia in 2013. This is due to lack of knowledge and experience in SRC production and use, from other hand there is no an other data base for SRC, part of plantations are not known. Also, there is no cooperation between small scale growers in terms of harvesting, selling and transportation to the end users. Therefore, it is important to implement actions triggering local supply chains of SRC in Latvia. It is necessary to organize informative activities and enable cooperation between the key actors in SRC production and use. Latvia has only small scale fields in comparison with leading SRC production countries. There is a need to promote good practice examples from other countries having similar growing conditions as Latvia. This would show that sustainable SRC production can be profitable, attractive and successful.
Vidzeme region was selected for the project activities in Latvia. This region has the largest areas of SRC in Latvia (app. 230 ha of Salix SRC). Local farmers have plans to extend areas in the nearest future. Vidzeme region has territory of 15,257 km2 and it covers 24% of the territory of Latvia. The administrative structure of the region consists of 25 local municipalities and one city – Valmiera. The number of population in the region is around 240,000. There are 188 nature protection areas located in the region. Agricultural land covers about 35% of the whole territory of Vidzeme region.