Bulgarian agriculture has untapped potential

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Ten years after Bulgaria’s accession to the European Union and the implementation of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), the agricultural output of the country does not correspond to its natural potential, experts contend. The conditions for doing agricultural business in Bulgaria have changed radically. The main driving force of these changes is EU’s CAP and the financial support from the state in the format of national co-financing.

In the recent years though the European Union has been faced with one of its toughest challenges – a two-gear Europe. The continent is not homogeneous in either economic or social terms and the collective solutions entail bureaucratic setbacks. And while for the old members environmental concerns are on top of the agenda, for Bulgaria incomes and growth in agriculture arevital. This implies a big stake – how and to what extent the future CAP will be able to agree these two doctrines.

In figures from national statistics for the first seven years of EU membership /2007-2013/,3.5 billion euro has entered Bulgarian agriculture in the form of various subsidies. The analysis of EU funds’ absorption suggests that most of funding lands with large producers – more than 80 percent of direct payments. And in practice small farmers need much more support.

So far in the context of CAP implementation the Bulgarian agricultural output fails to correspond to its natural potential. As a result Bulgaria sees growing agricultural imports and as much as 70 percent of agricultural produce on the market is foreign.

One of the major challenges that this country is faced with is the effective absorption of EU funds, experts recall. They argue that the volume of absorbed financing is important, but even more important is its long-term impact on Bulgarian agriculture and the development of the country’s regions.

Compiled by Atanas Tsenov

English Daniela Konstantinova

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