Dimela Veta Latvija: Latvians are not as careful in calculations as Estonians
Estonian farmers are good economists in regard to their farms. They are also open to innovations if they see actual benefits in them. Latvians, on the other hand, are more loyal, as BNN was told by Chairman of Dimela Veta Latvija Ģirts Būdis in an interview.
What are some of the most notable recent events in your sector?
What we see now in the world is the merging of largest veterinary medicine producers and division of the market among the most influential player. Regional representatives of global brands have to keep in mind this trend, because the merging of two producers also includes the evaluation of current regional distributors. Evaluation of partners and competition for exclusive distribution rights is common under such circumstances.
Can you say economic conditions are improving and there is a lot of potential for economic growth in the market?
There is no definite answer – everything depends on the business field and related sectors. There are sectors that currently experience down-slide. There are also those that are said to be growing.
Dimela Veta Latvija is an international veterinary brand product and animal feeds importer and distributor in Latvia – more than half of products handled by this company are animal feeds. The company’s turnover and income are affected by developments in the dairy sector.
How would you describe the government’s economy policy aimed at improving the economic situation in the country?
Dimela Veta Latvija was founded in 1992. According to information in Lursoft, it is the oldest and currently leading wholesale company in Latvia that deals in veterinary goods. I am from a generation of businessmen who largely agree with U.S. President John F. Kennedy’s ideology: ‘ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country.’ Every company is like a small country – with its own government, strategic planning and legislation. I have created jobs for more than 30 people. I believe that maintaining a successful business, paying salaries and taxes and helping out other enterprises can benefit the state.
I believe if a person wants to become a businessman, he should set goals that are realistic. Once you have accepted a challenge and have come up with applicable solutions in order to sustain your company and secure economic growth for it, any kind of support from the state – planned or unexpected – is a welcome and pleasant surprise that adds motivation and helps develop further. This kind of approach is already part of what gradually forms a successful and competitive company.
How is the industry affected by Latvia’s policy? What changes to legislation would you like to see? What helps? What makes things more complicated?
We are a wholesale company that deals in veterinary products. The company’s business activity is directly regulated and influenced by laws related to turnover and registration of veterinary medicine and animal feeds. It should be said that requirements are equally strict and realistic, because Dimela Veta Latvia has become a partner for more than 25 international brands.
I believe the development of Latvia’s agriculture sector will have a bigger influence over our company’s economic development than regulations.
We are now the official distributor of French Medria company’s innovative product in Latvia. This unique product is an accurate cow maternity detection system. Whether or not the number of users of this new system grows in Europe in the near future will depend on the development of the agricultural market.
How would you describe the industry’s position in the Baltics? What about competition with Estonia and Lithuania?
Dimela Veta Latvija is part of the Dimela Group, which includes three wholesale traders in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. In regard to internal differences within the Baltic market, Estonia has a history of having numerically large and well-managed dairy farms. Farmers are economists of their farms: they can accurately calculate expenses for every animal under their care and returns they get from investments. Estonians see their farms as a system. This system includes specialists, feed and medicine suppliers. All of these people are united in their goals. On top of that, they are open to innovations they see as beneficial for their business.
Latvians are not as good at calculations, but they are loyal. If you are always fair, open and generous with advice, cooperation will be long and sustainable.
What can you can your ‘trump card’? What is your ‘Achilles’ heel’?
What is positive is that agriculture, which is closely tied to the trade of veterinary products, is not stagnant – it is an industry with a great economic growth potential.
Wholesale trade of veterinary products has the power to slow down or speed up development of the industry. Because we often meet with producers of international brands from veterinary sector, we have a big advantage – we are the first to learn about innovations and new products. We also have a big say in convincing foreign producers to work with Latvia’s market and its readiness to try out the latest inventions and become their local distributors.
The only possible shock for the company may come from a situation when geopolitical, economic sanctions or some wide-spread epidemic forces Latvian breeders to terminate their livestock. This would seriously threaten the veterinary products business.
Can you say there is a lack of skilled workers in Latvia?
Consultative trade plays a big role in the veterinary medicine and animal feeds sector. In-depth knowledge about animal physiology and diet are necessary in order to be able to work successfully in this business. Skilled workers for us means people who are equally well-educated in the intricate mechanism of trading and extensive knowledge of veterinary sciences, as well as the will to constantly develop and improve.
There are good traders and excellent vets. However, there is a serious lack of ‘two in one’ kind of people in Latvia.
What do you predict for the next five years? Will the situation in the industry improve, worsen or remain the same?
Soon there we will experience a pivotal moment in the industry: when milk quotas are introduced, the price of milk in terms of quality will be notably differentiated. Quality and biologically-clean milk will win in the end. Latvia has a high proportion of biological farms. There are plenty of farms. However, there is a lack of knowledge about keeping livestock, their diet and medicinal needs.
I believe the Latvian Agricultural University will gradually come up with special education programmes that will include teaching of alternative treatment methods.
Modern knowledge will go ‘hand-in-hand’ with innovative veterinary medicine and equipment. We have been successfully working to introduce alternative medicine for animal treatment in Latvia. We now see results in statistics, and we believe we have made good progress in popularising healthy farming.