Lyubov Trenkova and Gergana Kaloyanova
Chief experts in regional development at Pazardzhik Regional Administration
Abstract: Measures COVID 1, 2 and 3 introduced by the government in Bulgaria asfinancial support to individual farmers with a web-based platform for plant protection products traceability during the pandemic.
COVID 19 has put a heavy load on farmers in all sectorsof agriculture across the globe. In order to support growers and breeders in Bulgaria sub-measures COVID 1 and COVID 2 were introduced by the national government as financial assistance paid as a lump sum to applicants. Both emergency measures are under sub-measure 21.1 "Emergency temporarysupport for farmers" under the RDP 2014-2020 (https://www.dfz.bg/en/Rural-development-areas-program/measures/). The total support ceiling per farmer under both sub-measures COVID 1 and COVID 2 cannot be more than the BGN equivalent of EUR 7,000.
Originally, sub-measure COVID 1 had a budget of BGN 93.5million (approx. EUR 47 mln) and covers the plant-growing sectors of "Fruits and vegetables", "Oil-bearing rose", "Vineyards", "Ornamental plants", and breeding sector "Livestock" (only cattle, buffaloes, sheep and goats), as well as "Beekeeping". As of 16th October, 2020 over BGN 70 million (approx. EUR 35mln) were paid by the State Fund "Agriculture". Support was received by nearly 30 thousand (29 781) farmers who applied under this sub-measure through the schemes of direct payments and state aid.
The total allocated budget for Sub-measure COVID 2 is BGN 5.5 million (approx.EUR 2.75 mln) and covers all other areas not covered by the COVID 1 measure in the field of plant growing and crop production, plus "Livestock" (pigs and poultry) sectors. Payments for applicants undersub-measure 21.2 "Extraordinary temporary support for farmers COVID2" are yet to be made after the completion of the administrative checks of the data in the farmers’ applications.
Above measures were introduces especially for farmers. Agri-food processors and producers’ organizations will be eligible to receive COVID 3 support under an additional sub-measure of BNG 7 321 096 (approx. EUR 3,65 mln) to be opened soon. The ceiling of support per applicant is EUR25,000.
Additionally, the central government is planning to launch a web-based platform to trace the movement of plant protection products (PPPs) from the manufacturer or importer to the end user of the product. The platform will be developed, administered and maintained by the Bulgarian Food Safety Agency (BFSA). The development and maintenance of the platform aims to improve the traceability and control over the PPPs produced and imported in Bulgaria, their trade, their use in plant protection and compliance with quarantine periods.