Shady deals tempt farmers

  • 2011-03-30
  • From wire reports

RIGA - Farmers should be wary when approached by the company Agro Food Holding Lily, with its “unbelievable” offer to participate in an organic food production program, Agriculture Minister Janis Duklavs’ (Union of Greens and Farmers) press secretary Dagnija Muceniece said, reports “The Agriculture Ministry treats such grandiose investment plans very cautiously, especially if they provide no details, just general theses,” stressed Muceniece.

“There have already been attempts to implement projects of similar scope in Latvia, but none of them have seen the light of day. The amount of investment necessary for this is huge indeed; however, the Agriculture Ministry has little information about the implementation of this project. It is based on just one letter from Agro Food Holding Lily and a few laconic presentations on the Internet. Therefore, the Agriculture Ministry treats such plans with great caution, and also urges Latvian farmers to think it all over carefully before any decision to possibly participate in the activities offered by Agro Food Holding Lily,” said Muceniece.
Agro Food Holding Lily is visiting Latvian local governments, promising that an unknown U.S. investment fund would provide them with 4 billion dollars. With this money, 9,000 new jobs will be created in Latvia’s rural areas and 5,000 greenhouses, farms and fish farms will be built, TV3 program ‘Neka personiga’ (Nothing Personal) reported.

Judging from these promises, it will be “raining money” in Latvia, ‘Neka personiga’ said.
Agro Food Holding Lily partners include the unnamed U.S. investment fund, an Israeli agrarian fund, several banks in Latvia and mysterious private investors. The amount of the said money is equal to that which the World Bank and International Monetary Fund provided to rescue Latvia.

The idea of the project is to “cover” Latvia with greenhouses, environment-friendly power plants, farms and fish farms, and sell their products to the Red Cross, United Nations Aid Program and to push Spanish tomatoes and cucumbers out of Latvian supermarkets.