The strategy for development of organic production until 2027, drafted by his Ministry together with the organic farming industry, will become part of the National Strategic Plan for the Common Agricultural Policy. The event was organized by the Netherlands Embassy and was held under the auspices of the Agriculture Ministry.
The conference is taking place at a key point for Bulgaria’s organic farming sector. One of the serious challenges is that demand still outweighs supply. In the wake of a series of shocks, statutory revisions and lack of financial support for several years, organic farmers can apply for support from 2020, with 40 million euro allocated for organic farmers in the next three years. However, they will have to meet some extra conditions.
Participants in the discussion noted that organic farming has been one of the fastest developing sectors in Bulgaria in recent years. The number of organic operators has increased severalfold in just ten years and the organic products market is expanding.
There were nearly 6,350 registered organic operators in Bulgaria in 2019. Marinov expects the sector to expand on the strength of measures taken by the Ministry to restart the system. They are expected to double the current shares of organic plant breeding and organic animal husbandry from the current 3-3.2 per cent and 2-2.7 per cent respectively.
In 2018, organic orchards covered 38,188 ha, 7,703 ha more than the previous year.
At the end of 2018, organic cereal crops – mostly wheat, maize, barley and oats – were grown on 21,019 ha, 26.6 per cent more than in 2017. Organic technical crops, including oleaginous roses, herbs and medicinal plants, were grown on 31,272 ha, 8,274 ha more than in 2017.
The area under with organic essential oil crops totalled 20,548 ha, increasing by more than 21.8 per cent from 2017.
Organic pastures increased by 2.08 per cent to 40,751 ha at the end of 2018.
At the opening of the event, the Ambassador of the Netherlands to Bulgaria, Bea ten Tusscher, said the two countries can cooperate successfully in sustainable agriculture. In her words, they have traditionally good relations in agriculture, more specifically in organic production. The Netherlands’ MATRA Programme supported some of the first organic producers in Bulgaria. Organic producers in the Netherlands are the only ones in the EU who do not receive single area payments.
The Bulgarian Organic Products Association suggested that an Organic Netherlands Day be held in Bulgaria.