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Subsidies for organic farming are insufficient in Bulgaria

Staff Writer |
Bulgaria could become a leader in organic farming if the state provided sufficient subsidies to its organic fruit and vegetable producers.

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The certification requirements, however, are too high and, at the same time, the controls on finished products are minimal.

Due to high demand, many growers have decided to start producing organic food; most often, these are small farms that are not entitled to a subsidy, because they cannot meet the requirements for certification.

This year, the state has allocated about 20 million Lev (10.23 million Euro) to support farms with organic production or in transition, but very few are benefiting.

"Currently, industrial agriculture is much more supported, with more money going into it, while organic is regarded as more of a complement to regular agriculture," stated Meglena Antonova, coordinator of "Ecological agriculture".

"In Bulgaria, it is very difficult, if not impossible to receive a subsidy, because it is hard to meet the necessary conditions. The production is also small and that complicates things further," affirms Constantine Yanev, a producer.

According to the growers, intermediaries often buy organic products for prices below the production cost. The point is that, although there is currently no guarantee of whether the products sold are really organic, many people still prefer them - if only because they inspire more trust.

For its part, Greenpeace-Bulgaria has recently held a workshop in Varna dealing with best practices in growing organic products.

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