Heavy rains in Bulgaria cut quantity, not quality of harvest – Naidenov

Bulgaria will not experience any food shortages in spite of the heavy rains and hail that hit the country in recent months, Agriculture and Food Minister Miroslav Naidenov said.

However, he conceded that quantities of the harvest would be smaller but said “we will compensate for quantity with quality”.

Naidenov said that there would be no increase in the price of bread.

In May, the National Association of Grain Producers said that farmers expected a 25 per cent lower yield of wheat in 2012 than in 2011. At the time, according to Bulgarian-language media reports, the association said that because of the bad weather, increases in costs were likely.

At the same time, reports have said that the low temperatures in the first part of 2012 have seriously affected fruit and vegetable crops in Bulgaria, including a sharp decline in the cherry harvest.

Rose oil producers in Kazanluk said that they expected this year to see an average yield of 400kg a hectare, and expectations are that 2012 prices for a kilogram of rose oil could reach 6000 euro.

Earlier, Naidenov said that there was a need to introduce minimum mandatory insurance for agricultural produce on the principle of civil liability. He said this against the background of the several hailstorms of recent days.

The European Union would make good any damage where crops had been 100 per cent destroyed, but only if the crop had been insured.

Naidenov said that the state should try to set up such an insurance fund, “with minimal, absolutely affordable prices”.

On June 7, committees of agricultural experts began touring areas in the Shoumen district to identify damage caused by heavy rains.

The head of the regional agricultural directorate, Aneta Pencheva, was reported by Darik Radio to have said that 740 acres of cherry trees around the village of Madara had been destroyed.

There had been 12 applications filed at the office by farmers for compensation, after the destruction of about 6000 hectares of various crops, including corn, barley, potatoes, cherries and melon. However, it was unclear whether there could be compensation and how much it could be.

In Shoumen, the bitter winter cold at the start of the year reportedly destroyed 80 per cent of the oilseed rape that had been planted over 92 000 acres. The losses to farmers amounted to the equivalent of 100 leva (50 euro) an acre, the local agricultural organisation said.

Separate reports said that because of the bad weather recently, the cherry and strawberry harvests had “almost completely failed”. The edible portion of this year’s cherry crop was reported to add up to only about 18 per cent.


(Photo: Eric Pseja/sxc/hu)





The Sofia Globe staff

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