Traditional market industry dwindling in Latvia

The renovation of one of the most beloved markets in Rīga, the Āgenskalns market, is on the finish line. Meanwhile, other markets are dwindling, Latvian Radio reported January 12.

The Āgenskalns market, established in the late 19th century, has been undergoing major repairs for several years. Tenants hope that doors for traders and visitors can be opened in April, but construction work will not end, with the renovations of outdoor trading area in the coming years. It would be greened and provided with electric vehicle charging stations.

On the other hand, the pavilion is planning not only active trading but also informative educational activities in a few months' time. They will take place on the second floor, where a community kitchen is also planned.

The head of Āgenskalns Market projects, Jānis Petkēvičs, said: “It could be a strong, inclusive section. As an example, it could be Sunday children's mornings; we cook together, families with children or together with chefs. It's a great section for neighborhood families to get involved in the functioning of the Āgenskalns market.”

In this changing part of the market, the tenants also intend to organize thematic events, such as the Christmas and Midsummer markets.  The developers of the Āgenskalns market, which are also developers of Kalnciema square, do not name the costs of reconstruction.

At the time one market is restored, others are asking for their status to be revoked, for example, the markets of Ķengarags and Rumbula. The head of the firm responsible for the Rumbula market Raisa Koreņeva did not want to comment, only said the market has not existed for many years, so their market status is no longer up to date.

Head of the city development committee of the Rīga City Council Inese Andersone thinks that markets are closing due to a lack of creative and determined entrepreneurs, stressing that markets must transform to survive.

The Latvian Markets Union considers the industry is experiencing a hard time. It is negatively affected by the rapid development of supermarkets and online platforms. In order to prevent the loss of markets, the State has to act, Renāta Petrova, representative of the organization, said in an interview to Latvian Radio.

“Of course, it is not possible to compare the way the markets were ten years ago and what the situation is at the moment. I think the markets, especially the smaller ones, are now on the brink of extinction,” she said.

 

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