Bulgaria’s government says it will expand support for country’s food producers

The Bulgarian state will support Bulgarian food producers not only financially, but by protecting their interests “at all levels,” the government information service said on July 25 after a meeting between Cabinet ministers and representatives of 35 organisations in the livestock sector.

The government was represented at the meeting by Prime Minister Nikolai Denkov, Finance Minister Assen Vassilev and Deputy Agriculture Minister Deyan Stratev.

Without even more serious help from the state, in a few years Bulgaria will not produce food and we will import everything from outside, the farmers said, according to the statement.

They said that their main problems were the high cost of production, low purchase prices, difficult access to support and insufficient subsidies.

Some of those present were categorically opposed to another extension of the ban on grain imports from Ukraine, the statement said. They said that this makes feed more expensive, and hence the end product, which leads to higher food prices in the shops and increases inflation.

The producers asked the state to stop the illegal import of food products from neighbouring countries, which undercuts the prices of Bulgarian products. They objected to the policy of large retail chains that buy their goods cheaply and sell them to end customers at double the price. Farmers have demanded a review of farm-to-market grocery pricing, the statement said.

 “Mixed teams from the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Agriculture and Food are already working on this issue,” the statement quoted Vassilev as saying.

Livestock breeders were unanimous that the Strategic Plan for the Development of Agriculture and Rural Areas 2023-2027, presented by the now-departed caretaker government, does not sufficiently take into account their interests, and they are demanding that it be amended.

Vassilev said that the Budget provides for the maximum aid for the sector, but there was a big delay in the preparation of some documents by the caretaker government, “which we are now trying to catch up”.

He said that the second part of the money for farmers to overcome the negative economic impact of the Russian aggression against Ukraine is included in the draft Budget for 2023, which is expected to be adopted by Parliament by the end of this week. It is expected that the money will be paid to the producers in September this year, the statement said.

(Photo: Andreas Krappweis/ freeimages.com)

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