Bulgaria Newsflash Week 24

More tomatoes & cucumbers this year: perfect for the typical Bulgarian shopska salad; fruit harvest is, however, down; meet Agriniser - a grain trade platform founded by a Bulgarian; Sofia Zoo helps endangered species: see you latest Bulgaria Agri News Week.


Forecast for more tomatoes and cucumbers, and less pepper this year

Forecasts by the Centre for Agri-Policy Analyses (CAPA) set the tomato output at 140,000 t or 7% more than last year, when the harvest was some 130,000 t.  The pepper harvest is forecast at 62,000 t, which is 3% less than last year. In the majority of farms, pepper is grown in open-air condition and harvest fluctuations can be as much as +/- 13%.  The cucumber harvest in 2020 is estimated at 70,000 t and CAPA expects this year's production to be close to this level or even 72,000 t. Preferred by growers due to the experience they have and the lower foreign competition, cucumbers are emerging as a leading greenhouse crop in Bulgaria. Prices of tomatoes and cucumbers this past winter were lower than previous years due to COVID-19. The prices of vegetables were among the worst hit by the lockdown in the horeca sector and the slump in consumption.


Fruit harvest down by 13.5% in 2020, Y/Y

In 2020, 84.7% of the land under fruit - orchards and berry plantations, or a total of 41,385 ha - was harvested, Agrozona reports citing a Agriculture Ministry analysis on fruit production in 2020. The remaining 15.3% was not harvested due to adverse weather conditions and other factors. The total area under orchards is estimated at close to 65,000 ha. The harvested area is 3.5% smaller than 2019 and the output down by 13.6% to 202,500 t. The largest share of harvested land were cherry orchards (25.7%), followed by plums (20.7%).

Beeld: Agriniser

Bulgarian platform for grain trade picks up

Agriniser, a grain trade platform founded by Bulgarian Kristian Ivanov and UK business angels, is hoping to expand into the UK and Romania, Capital weekly reports. The platform was set up two years ago and has to date been focused on the Bulgarian market. It is based on subscription and the clients are mostly medium-sized and large producers and traders. Agriniser has 2,000 users in Bulgaria, most of which - 65% - are grain sellers. Grain trades concluded to date total more than 104,000 t. Grain farming has total domination in Bulgarian agriculture, with over 12 million t of grain produced annually and exports worth 5-6 billion leva (the equivalent of 2.5 to 3 billion euro). And while digital technologies become increasingly popular in production, trade has remained persistently analogue. Agriniser fills that void: it is a digital marketplace where users can buy and sell grain. It helps farmers, buyers and traders to meet online and negotiate deals directly with each other. Agriniser is not a broker and is not involved in the trading process. The total investment in the platform to date stands at GBP 350,000.

Red Deer
Beeld: Rewilding Rhodope

Sofia Zoo helps reintroduction of endangered species 

The Sofia Zoo provided 15 fallow dear and one red deer for the Fund for Wild Flora and Fauna and Green Balkans under a project entitled Bright Future for Black Vultures. The animals were released in the Kresna Gorge and the Kotel mountain. They were born in Sofia Zoo but are already adapting well to life in the wild. With this project Sofia Zoo fits in the concept for good world zoos that breed rare and endangered species, and reintroduce them in their natural habitat where the populations are dramatically reduced or extinct. Such programmes exist for snow leopards, vultures and condors, tigers, gibbons, endangered parrot species and more. Sofia Zoo is taking on a growing rose in the saving of rare animal species. In the recent years, it was involved in several releases in the Balkan Range of Griffon vultures hatched and raised in captivity.