According to a newly-released Agriculture ministry Forestry department report, in the first half of this year lumber and its by-products were exported to the value of €878,046, an increase of 11.8% over the same time period last year.
Forestry is currently “one of the cornerstones of the national economy”, says the Forestry department's Latvian Forest Sector in Facts and Figures. It includes forestry, wood processing and furniture manufacturing to comprise 6% of GDP in 2012, with its share of national exports at 17%, turning over €1.7bn that year.
“There is no parish in Latvia without a larger or smaller wood processing company. Often these are the most important employers in the surrounding area, thus being the main pillar of support for local economies and residents,” the report states.
In line with previous trends, Latvia’s largest export markets for forestry products were Great Britain, Sweden and Germany. Altogether Sweden received 12.2% of Latvia’s forestry sector exports worth €111.55m, Great Britain 12.1% at €110.43m, and Germany 11.9% at €108.42m.
At the same time forestry sector imports also grew, reaching €335,570, up 17.6% from the first half of last year, when the figure stood at €285,467.
The bulk of the imports came from Lithuania – 21.3% at €60.92m, Poland – 12.4% at 35.29m and Estonia – 11.% at €33.79m.
In 2013 Latvia’s total forestry sector exports reached €1.875bn, a growth of 10% over exports in 2012, when it earned €1.704bn.
Last year forestry sector imports also spiked 17.9%, reaching €590,554, compared to €500,736 in 2012.