The European Commission on May 26 formally adopted Bulgaria’s Rural Development Programme which outlines the country’s priorities for using 2.9 billion euro of public money for the 2014/2020 period, the commission said.
Of this sum, 2.4 billion euro comes from the EU budget, including 28 million euro transferred from the Bulgarian envelope for CAP direct payments and 0.5 billion euro of national funding.
Under the first objective of improved competitiveness and balanced development of the country’s agri-food and forestry sectors, about 3500 agriculture holdings and about 120 companies active in the forestry sector are expected to receive investment support.
More than 4000 small farmers will receive support to develop their farms and 1630 young farmers will receive start-up aid to launch their businesses.
Under the second objective of protection and sustainable management of ecosystems, efficient use of natural resources and mitigation and adaptation to climate change, support for conversion and maintenance of organic farming will cover about 46 000 ha (out of which 23 000 ha will cover conversion to organic farming).
Agri-environment-climate measures will be implemented on 113 000 ha and 60 000 ha in designated Natura 2000 areas will benefit from compensatory support.
Under the third objective of socio-economic development of rural areas, more than 4200 jobs will be created through diversification and development of small enterprises, and another 600 jobs via the implementation of local development strategies.
One third of the rural population will benefit from improved infrastructure, the European Commission said.
The Bulgarian programme was one of 24 adopted by the EC on May 26.
The Commission said that the programmes were aimed at improving the competitiveness of the EU farming sector, caring for the countryside and climate, and strengthening the economic and social fabric of rural communities in the period until 2020.
“The programmes adopted today are expected, among other things, to lead to the creation of over 40 000 jobs in rural areas and about 700 000 training places to foster innovation, knowledge transfer, more sustainable farming practices and stronger rural businesses.”
(Photo: Dido Ivanov)