Bulgaria Newsflash Week 9

2020 in Bulgarian agriculture: mixed trends, Vineyards in Bulgaria, Frost damages damage to wheat, New digital techniologies for young Bulgarian farmer, Subcidies for agroecology and climate, Bulgarian food products on Romanian farmer’s market the Week 9 news in Bulgarian agriculture.

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2020 in Bulgarian agriculture: mixed trends

According to estimates, the gross value added generated by farming in the first quarter of 2020 grew by 2.1% year-on-year in real terms and the second quarter saw a decline of 0.8%. It means that during the review period the agricultural sector was not as affected by the COVID-19 crisis as other sectors of the economy, according to the Аgrobusiness 2021 edition of Bulgarian Farmer Weekly. The publication provides detailed statistics on the production of grain, fruit, vegetables, milk and dairy products, meat and wine last year. According to estimates, the net export of agricultural goods in the first half of 2020 totalled EUR 475.3 million which was 30.1% more than a year before.

Glasses of wine
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Vineyards in Bulgaria increase by 1,000 to 1,200 ha every year

the director of the Vine and Wine Agency, Krassimir Koev, said in a Bulgarian National Radio interview. Bulgaria grows over 60,000 ha of vineyards and produces over 80 million litres of wine every year. It has 42,000 professional wine markers and interest in the sector is growing thanks to the EU support. In one example, project proposals for funding under a measure for emergency storage of wine, are accepted until March 12. It is an extraordinary measure aimed to help deal with the disturbances in the vine growing and wine making sector in the EU, caused by the coronavirus pandemic. A total of BGN 5 million is available in Bulgaria for this measure, said State Fund Agriculture.

Annual wine consumption in Bulgaria totals 110 to 120 million litres. The recent years showed that Bulgarians prefer local wine to imports and preferences are equally shared between reds and whites.

Frost have caused irreparable damage to wheat across the country

reported AgroClub. The damage is worst in the northern regions of Veliko Tarnovo, Targovishte, Razgrad, Shoumen, Rousse and Varna, and partly Dobrich, the area which is known as “Bulgaria’s grainery”. Wheat fields have turned yellow and even brown in some parts.

Frost has made wheat to lose much of its leaf mass but tests showed that the tiller nodes have remained largely unaffected. It has been the fourth frost of such scale in Bulgaria in the past 20 years.

Young Bulgarian farmers can expand their farms by using new techniologies

 They are the key target of a digital platform designed by Agrion and available on its website, as something of a portal for management of farm land, where over 5,000 land plots can be purchased almost entirely online. The land is suitable for expanding existing farms or setting up new ones, including bee farms. Land plots on the Agrion platform are available across the country but those that attract the most interest are in the regions of Bourgas and Varna on the coast, Veliko Tarnovo in north-central Bulgaria, Montana in the northwest and the capital Sofia. Some of the most lucrative ones are larger than 2 ha and are suitable for a variety of crops. Land that is close to the sea or is in the mountains is attracting investors from non-farming sectors.

Payments have started under Measure Ten, Agroecology and Climate, of the Rural Development Programme 2014-2020

State Fund Agriculture has remitted BGN 24,679,446 under the measure and it reached 1,993 farmers, Agri reported. The payments are for the 2020 campaign to beneficiaries with projects for protecting endangered local varieties of significance for agriculture and traditional practices for seasonal grazing. 75% of the financial aid for these farmers is provided by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development with the rest coming from the national budget.

Farmer's market
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A Romanian mayor wants 20% of Bulgarian goods on Giurgiu farmers market

The newly elected mayor of Giurgiu in Romania, Adrian Angelescu, seeks to encourage cooperation between Romanian and Bulgarian farmers. He has come up with an initiative for strengthening contacts with nearby Rousse, across the Danube, the Bulgarian National Television reported. To strengthen the commercial exchange after the pandemic, the mayor offers to provide stands for Bulgarian producers at the farmers market in Giurgiu. “I want us to be partners and have Bulgarian producers on 20% of the available stands,” said the mayor. The CEO of the municipal company running the produce markets in Rousse, Kuncho Kunchev, says the idea for exchanging farmer stands will bring benefit for both sides and can be implemented as soon as the COVID-related restrictions are lifted.