Bulgaria Newsflash Week 19

Do you know that Bulgaria stops selling eggs produced by battery cage farms? Read the details in our Agri News Week 19. More news: Bulgarian farming suffers from EU’s worst loss of workers; an increase of rye fields in 2021; cold weather and rain ruin orchards; Bulgarian cotton growers receive aid.


Bulgaria stops selling eggs produced by battery cage farms

Over 27 companies in Bulgaria, including supermarket chains, have declared that they are no longer going to sell eggs from poultry farms using battery cages, Agronovinite reports. More than 2,000 corporations worldwide have declared readiness to make the same ethical commitment. According to the Bulgarian Food Safety Agency, 67.9% of the capacity of farms for egg-laying chicken in Bulgaria is for battery cages. Such farms breed some 3 million birds. The rest use the more humane alternative cage-free breeding methods:  barn or free-range (organic). Across the EU, less than 50% of chicken are raised in battery cages. 89% of Bulgarians say it is unnatural to breed chicken in cages when there are more humane alternatives, according to a nationally representative poll taken by the Sova Harris agency. 85.5% of respondents believe that the method of raising the chicken affects the quality of the eggs. Close to 10,000 people have signed an online petition declaring that they refuse to buy 3-coded eggs (which indicates that the chicken are raised in cages).

25% increase of rye fields in 2021

Rye fields this year have increased by 25.4% to 732.6 ha, AgroClub reports. Wheat and rapeseed fields are 3% and 9.8% larger, respectively, than last year. Only barley fields have contracted slightly, by 3.4%. Some of the failing rapeseed fields have been ploughed and re-sowed with summer crops. The sowing of key summer crops remains slower than last year due to unfavourable weather conditions.


Cold weather and rain ruin orchards

The long wet spells and low temperatures are ruining orchards in many parts of the country, Agronovinite reports. Bees are unable to pollinate the blooming fruit trees and shrubs and fungal infections thrive in the high humidity. The damage is worst in northern Bulgaria but the south of the country has not been fully spared. Unfavourable weather threatens the plum trees, which are the first to bloom, as well as the cherries, apples, strawberries and all other fruit trees and shrubs.

Bulgarian farming suffers from EU’s worst loss of workers

Farming attracts an ever decreasing number of workers across the EU and Bulgaria has seen the biggest decrease, according to a Eurostat survey for 2005-2020 reported by the Investor news outlet. Bulgaria, which has lost 8% of its farm workers, is followed by Slovakia with the second worst exodus of farm workers (-5.5%), Estonia (-4.9%) and Latvia (-4.5%). The only exceptions from the general trend are Malta, where farm workers have increased by 1.5% on average each year, and Ireland with an increase of 0.5%. The shrinking number of workers in agriculture is blamed on two factors: the wider use of machines and increased efficiency of farming, and the increasing alternatives and attractiveness of other economic sectors.


Bulgarian cotton growers receive close to BGN 4 mln in aid

State Fund Agriculture has paid out close to BGN BGN 4 million to farmers under a scheme for special payments for cotton in the 2020 campaign. The subsidies reached 112 farmers, who registered to participate in the scheme and grew cotton varieties listed in the Bulgarian variety register or in the European crop catalogue, said the Agriculture Ministry. To qualify for the aid, farmers were required to submit before December 1, 2020, a contract for purchase of their output. The aid rate is based on Article 58 of Regulation No 1307/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 December 2013.