Photographs in Bulgaria

Difficult situation of Bulgarian agriculture

I'd like to introduce you to the Bulgarian Agriculture.

This report is based on the my business trip to Bulgaria which took place at the end of 1995.

Do you know Bulgaria? I did not know much about Bulgaria before I visited there. Most of the Japanese know the country only for its Bulgarian Yogurt.

Now I would like to explain the outline of the country. Bulgaria is located in the East of Balkan Peninsula. The country is neighboured by Rumania, Yugoslavia, Greece Turkey and the Black Sea. The land size of the country is little bit larger than Hokkaido. The Population is 9 million. It is about one thirteenth of Japan's population.

The official language is Bulgarian. The Bulgarian is known as Cyrillic letter which was written by St. Cyrill et Methode and was expended to Russia and the former Yugoslavia. These alphabet is very difficult for me to understand it.

The country has long history. Bulgaria has been conquerd by the Turkish for 500 years. So, people has a bad image for Turkey. Russian military helped the independence of the country. After the World War II, the country changed to a communist society. The Collapse of the Berlin's Wall in 1989 promoted a change of the society drastically.

Next, I will introduce you to the agriculture of Bulgaria. Before the collapse the society was communist, a lot of co-operative farms produced most of agricultural products in the country. The land of co-operative farm belonged national government and the farmers had to produce a determined amount by government. This means the farmer could not decide what kind plant and how much size of farm they grow. Its called "norm" production system.

Now, all of the old type of co-operative farm has changed to private farming. The government has returned the farm land to former owner before World War II. They can grow any kinds of agricultural products on their own farm land. They can sell their products to a market. They can earn enough money due to their effort.

On the other hand, there are a lot of problems about farming. The social system was changed too quick, so every thing was chaotic. People's income is very low. It is less than one tenth of the western European countries. Modern farming needs a large sized farm, big machinery irrigation system, marketing system and etc. They have no money to repair the irrigation system. Most of the farmers can not buy farm machinery. So they can not produce large amount of products effectively.

But they have a lot of good things for improving agricultural production. First of all, the level of research is very high. For example, one of Bulgarian research institute made a lot of world famous wheat varieties. They recorded a high wheat yield. They have good research for agriculture and they have a moderate climate compared with northern European countries. They also have a very big market in western Europe.

Reconstruction of the Bulgarian agriculture is not so easy. A help of developed countries which include Japan is needed for the reconstruction. In my opinion, Japan has a good experience for a reconstructing country after the Wold War II. The situation of the country resembles just after the World War II in Japan. Our experience is useful to help the reconstruction of Bulgaria.

I hope that If you think about Europe, please remember the difficult situation of Bulgaria.

by Masami Yamada

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