For vegetable producers, spring comes much earlier than for others, since the first tomatoes are planted in January.
“Lamps grow our cucumbers all year, so it's not that we have a break in the production of cucumbers. But tomatoes we started harvesting April, and now they are in full swing. (..) We produce five thousand tonnes of vegetables a year and mostly sell them here in Latvia. Exports are very few,” said Mārupes siltumnīcas Ltd head Maruta Kravale.
The farm Kliģeni grows long cucumbers and different varieties of tomato. Kliģeni wholesale chief executive Reinis Reķis said that this year they can't complain about productivity and demand.
“Demand always is there. The only problem if there is more production in other European countries, namely if there is better sunlight and therefore higher yields, then imports come in. That's what sets the price at some point. We are forced to lower it,” said Reinis Reķis.
In spite of the fight against imported vegetables, Kliģeni sells all production every year. The producer certainly welcomes the reduced VAT rate of 5% applicable to local vegetables and berries.
“We can give a better price to the consumer. Perhaps some euros are saved for us as producers, because it is expensive to produce these things in Latvia. Production costs are very high every month. There are also times when the price is falling very low and we are working with losses for a while,” said Reķis.
The farm Rītausma grows cucumbers, tomatoes and lettuce. The company's chair Lāsma Bekina said that the cucumber currently has the highest yield period.
“This year, everything except the lettuce is with a two-week delay because the spring was pretty dark and cool. We have seen demand rise last year, with larger orders from supermarkets. We have a retail kiosk on site, too, and we see that the flow of people and the desire to buy our products in the spring have increased,” Bekina says.