Zemgale Planning Region, Latvia

Zemgale is located in the central part of Latvia, south from Riga, it has a long (270 km) borderland with the Republic of Lithuania. Beginning with the Eastern Kurzeme Highland and Southern Kurzeme Lowland in the West to the Augszeme Highland in the East, located along Latvia – Lithuania borderland, but its central part is located on the Zemgale Plain.

Territory and Resources
The Zemgale area includes 10,742 km2, which is 16.6 percent of the total Latvian territory. The cities in Zemgale occupy 645 km2, or 6 percent of the total territory of the region. The high soil fertility and relatively unpolluted agricultural and natural areas are significant advantages of Zemgale. The lowland cadastral value in average is over 60 balls, in some places up to 82 balls (Jelgava County), it is 50 percent higher than any other state rural regions, which defines the potential for agricultural development and specialisation.

Forests cover 432.8 thousand ha or 40 percent of the territory in Zemgale. From the total forest area in Latvia, forests comprise 15% in Zemgale. Taking into consideration the existing forest resources it is a great possibility to develop woodworking successfully. There are considerable peat, clay, dolomite, rock gypsum, limestone, gravel and sand extraction places in Zemgale, in total of 156 mineral extraction places within the territory.

Zemgale is crossed by two major Latvian rivers - Daugava and Lielupe. The stocks of the water resources are sufficient both for economic activities and human consumption. Ground water is mainly used for water supply.

Transport Infrastructure
Zemgale is crossed by five national importance roads and important international transport corridors and their intersection, the main highway and railway lines, long-distance natural gas and petroleum pipelines, fiber optic cables.

Special Values of Zemgale
• There are located two cities of national importance in the region - Jelgava and Jçkabpils, which have been developing as education, health, culture, sports and science centers and is the region's development and Latvian impellents.

• The second highest density of the population is in Zemgale, as well as the lowest demographic load among the regions of Latvia.

• There is the third largest university in Latvia - Latvia Agricultural University, 12 other universities branches, one college, one branch Office College and 10 vocational training institutions which provide wide opportunities for development of human resources in the region.

• Zemgale has intellectual and scientific potential, especially in agriculture and forestry sectors, which promote high-quality professional training and research development.

• Zemgale has long industrial production and handicraft traditions, advanced processing and manufacturing industry - wood, metal industry, chemical industry, mining, textile industry, which employs 18 percent of all workers in the region.

• In the region, a business supportive infrastructure has been developed – including business incubators and business parks, industrial and logistics parks, research institutes, technology transfer centers.

The long-term development vision in Zemgale
Zemgale should be:
• a region with a favourable living environment,
• a region with the developed knowledge-intensive economy, production units and services with high added value,
• a region with a cultural environment and landscape typical of Zemgale, where the balance between the individual and environment is maintained.

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