Short History of Agricultural Census in Latvia

Agricultural Census is activities of a national scale, which allow acquiring information for the analysis of processes significant for agriculture and creating the development projects for the future. Economically stable countries, where agriculture plays important role, organize such censuses on regular basis.

During the first independence in Latvia six agricultural censuses were carried out:

  • Agricultural Census 1920, which was carried out together with first Population Census;
  • Agricultural Census 1923;
  • General Agricultural Census 1929;
  • General Census of Sown Areas and Livestock of 1935;
  • Agricultural Census 1937;
  • General Agricultural Census 1939 – the widest, data of which were not fully compiled, because the process was interrupted by the war.
  • After the war, when Latvia was part of USSR, separate Census of Sown Areas of Agricultural Crops, Cattle Census and Orchard Census were organized.

Because of the financing granted by the government, methodological support of the international experts, in 2001 in Latvia it was possible to carry put Agricultural Census, which was the first agricultural census carried out after Latvia regained the independence. As during that time period the aim of Latvia was to become the Member State of the European Union and in the meantime successful development of the agricultural sector, when developing the methodological programme of the Agricultural Census the requirements of the European Union (EU) legislation and needs of local information users were taken into account.

The aim of the Agricultural Census 2001 was to acquire wide range of information on the number of farms, land use, number of livestock and poultry, buildings and machinery in farms, production and social infrastructure, employed in farms, auxiliary activities of the farms, as well as to find out the specialisation and economic sizes of farms.

The requirements of the EU legislation lay down that Member States should carry out the Agricultural Census every 10 years, but in the time period between the Censuses once in two years Farm Structure Survey should be carried out. In Latvia Farm Structure Survey was carried out in 2003, 2005 and 2007.

The next Agricultural Census will be carried out in 2010 and in the following decades once in 3 years (in 2013 and 2016) Farm Structure Survey will take place.