News from AREI team

Institute of Agricultural Resources and Economics (AREI) has been engaged in numerous activities of the CIRCLE project during the last months. The most recent activities are related to Work Package 3 on exploring circular businesses.

First, Armands Vēveris (AREI) together with colleagues Emīls Ķīlis and Miķelis Grīviņš from Baltic Studies Centre (BSC) visited the farm “Lielkrūzes” in Jaunpiebalga, Cēsis region on February 10, 2023. They got acquainted with examples of the circular economy in this environmentally friendly farm. The farm strictly adheres to the principles of environmentally friendly management according to ancient traditions. The farm applies a unique practice in Latvia, removing sludge from ponds and using it in agriculture, thus ensuring the circulation of bioresources in the farm. This is facilitated by the favorable location of the water bodies arranged in a cascade, as a result of which the sludge from all the ponds flows into the depression, from where it is drained with an excavator. In total, about 60 tonnes of freshwater sapropel (gyttja) are obtained from the area of 6 ha of ponds per year, which is used for cereals, gardens, fruit trees, flowers, etc. The owner believes that the benefit also comes from regularly draining the ponds. It protects ponds from the multiplication of natural enemies of fish, thus contributing to higher productivity in aquaculture. At the same time, public benefits are ensured in this way by protecting the Gauja River from organic pollution.

Second, Ieva Leimane (AREI), Alberts Auziņš (AREI) and Anda Ādamsone-Fiskoviča (BSC) visited the join-stock company “Ziedi JP” in Dobele region on February 24, 2023. This company implements quite a unique large scale circular business model that involves circular flows of bio-resource between dairy farming, biogas production (involving combine heat and power), aquaculture (fish farming) and back to the crop production. This visit launched the start of the case study including cost-benefit analysis. JSC “Ziedi JP” is a family owned business, established in 1991. The main activity of the company is agriculture – dairy farming with more than 2000 cows in herd and crop production (apr.2400 ha). The owners are open-minded and active in gaining experience from all around the world and in developing more circular production, mainly to optimize the production costs and to improve the efficiency of bio-resource usage.

Third, AREI’s team in cooperation with the colleagues from Vilnius University has started work on the cost-benefit analysis of the case study of bio-resource circularity in company named “Insectum”. The cost-benefit analysis is at an initial stage: we have examined the company’s webpage and the initial question list for the interviews have been prepared. The circular business model for the purpose of CBA in this case study is suggested as follows: the main output of the company is larvae meal and the scope of the CBM involves the use of food residues for growing insect larvae and production of larvae meal. Larvae meal is further used in the feed production to substitute fish meal, however this stage is beyond the scope of the CBM.

In slight relation with the CIRCLE, on February 14, 2003, Alberts Auziņš (AREI) participated in the online meeting of the Ministry of Agriculture and Latvian Financial Industry Association. He gave a presentation on the framework of the EU Taxonomy in agriculture, including potential technical screening criteria.

Photo: Miķelis Grīviņš