Bulgaria Newsflash Week 20, 2022
- Ukraine war: Does Bulgaria face grain shortage? What are the governmental plans to compensate high farm input costs?
- Fish and shellfish season at a full swing.
- New fashion: more city dwellers move to the countryside.
- Will be soon industrial hemp legalized in Bulgaria?
Enjoy our latest agri newsflash!
Bulgaria has enough grain during Ukraine crisis
Bulgaria has enough grain to ensure subsistence, Finance Minister Assen Vassilev said during Question Time in Parliament. Meanwhile, audits have begun so as to establish the stocks in the grain storage facilities. The grain stock checks were prompted by the war in Ukraine, Vassilev said as quoted in Agri. In March, the inspectors found over 263,000 t of undeclared grain in a storage facility in Burgas, on the Black Sea. Agriculture Minister Ivan Ivanov said that, based on an analysis of the submitted declarations for the grain stocks as of the end of February, priority checks were done at a total of 984 facilities for storage of grain.
Government plans to cover increased farm costs due to Ukraine war
The government provided ample additional funding for overcoming the consequences of the COVID pandemic and now it is about to set out a mechanism for covering the increased costs of farms as a result of the war in Ukraine, Agriculture Minister Ivan Ivanov said as quoted by AgroNovinite. The support aims to ensure the viability of farms and encourage farmers to modernize them. This ensures efficient and sustainable production, increased productivity, higher income for farmers and enough produce to meet food demand in the long term, the Minister said as he opened the 10th edition of the National Convention of Sheep-breeders in Bulgaria. He said that animal husbandry in general and sheep breeding in particular is one the priority sectors in Bulgarian agriculture.
Fish and shellfish season starts in Bulgaria
The two seafood processing factories in the town of Chernomorets, on the Black Sea, resumed work on May 15 after nearly three years of problems, the Bulgarian Farmer weekly reported.
“We hope that production will gradually return to normal,” said Dr Svetozar Vassilev, CEO of Bulgarian White Shells OOD and chairman of the association of harvesters, processors and traders of wedge clam (Donax trunculus).
The business of processing fish and shellfish in Chernomorets has a history of 12 years. It starts with the harvesting of whelks and wedge clam and involved the processing and packaging to the finished product. The quality of the products is high and they sell out on the markets of Europe and the Middle East. The whelks are cleaned and frozen before they are exported to South Korea and Japan. The wedge clam is exported to Spain, Italy and France, where clam is a popular delicacy. The sector took a bad hit from the COVID pandemic but is on a track to recovery now. The seafood business relies much on shortening supply chains and eliminating the long chain of intermediaries and traders.
An increasing number of former city dwellers take up vegetable gardening in the country
In the recent years, the Bulgarian rural population has increased by 200,000, half of them of active age, and these village newcomers are now taking up vegetable gardening. “The number of people who have had nothing to do with agriculture but have decided to have vegetable gardens in their backyards, has really increased considerably. Every day we get inquiries from people seeking to buy planting stock for tomatoes and other vegetables,” the head of the Institute for Vegetable Crops, Prof. Daniela Ganeva, told AgroPlovdiv. In January and February, her Institute starts taking orders for planting stock of the tomato varieties it has created. The best sellers are Pink Heart, Scarlet Heart, Ideal and the Alya cherry tomatoes. Demand for the Institute products is high because the seeds are authentic and checked by the Bulgarian Food Safety Agency and the Executive Agency for Variety and Seed Control.
Another attempt for legalizing industrial hemp in Bulgaria
After long years of repressive state policy on the non-psychoactive industrial hemp, changes are anticipated in Bulgaria to bring about its liberalization. Revisions to the Control on Narcotic Substances and Precursors Act have been submitted in Parliament, reports Capital daily. They aim to legalize not just the cultivation (as is at present) but also the broad possibilities for processing of Cannabis Sativa and the production of byproducts of all parts of the plant.
Even though it is allowed in theory, industrial hemp is not grown in Bulgaria because of tight police control and the difficulty in distinguishing between narcotic and industrial hemp. Meanwhile, countries neighbouring on Bulgaria, Romania in particular, have turned into preferred locations for all investors who have appreciated the huge potential of this niche.