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Eurofound's EU PolicyWatch collates information on the responses of government and social partners to the COVID-19 crisis, the war in Ukraine, rising inflation, as well as gathering examples of company practices aimed at mitigating the social and economic impacts.

Factsheet for measure BG-2020-34/1181 Updated – measures in Bulgaria

COVID-19: State aid for agriculture

Ковид-19: Държавна помощ за аграрния сектор

Country Bulgaria , applies nationwide
Time period Temporary, 19 August 2020 – 13 November 2020
Context COVID-19
Type Legislations or other statutory regulations
Category Supporting businesses to stay afloat
– Direct subsidies (full or partial) or damage compensation
Author Eva Dimitrova (for Eurofound)
Measure added 24 September 2020 (updated 01 April 2023)

Background information

The Bulgarian government has implemented three special funding programmes for agriculture businesses that have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and faced difficulties for optimal realisation of farming activity.

Sub-measure COVID I: 'Extraordinary temporary support for farmers' has a budget of BGN 93,5 million (approximately €46 million) and covers the sectors - 'Fruits and vegetables', 'Oil-bearing rose', 'Vineyards', 'Ornamental plants', 'Livestock' (cattle, buffaloes, sheep and goats) and 'Beekeeping'.

Sub-measure COVID II: 'Extraordinary temporary support for farmers 2' has a budget of BGN 5.5 million (approximately €2,7 million) and covers all other areas in the field of crop production and 'Livestock' (pigs and poultry).

Sub-measure COVID III: 'Extraordinary temporary support for small and medium-sized enterprises and recognized producer groups and organisations' has a budget of BGN 7,3 million (approximately €3.15 million) and covers micro, small or medium-sized agricultural enterprises, with the exception of businesses in fishery as well as groups and producer organisations carrying out the processing, marketing or development of agricultural products.

The conditions for granting the aid and the documents for application under the sub-measures are described and published in the State Gazette, issue no. 70 of 7 August 2020. Ordinance No. 2 of 5 August 2020 on the implementation of measure 21 'Extraordinary temporary support for farmers and small and medium-sized enterprises, which are particularly affected by the crisis caused by COVID-19'. The aid is part of the national 'Programme for rural development' (PRD) for the period 2014 - 2020.

The measures are precedent by de minimis subsidy due to COVID-19, paid for April, May and June 2020, within the scope of the current PRD.

Content of measure

Sub-measure for agriculture COVID I offers farmers subsidies according to the size of their arable land or number of livestock. The measure varies in accordance to the type of agrarian production and livestock. The state aid starts from BGN 300 (€150) for a vineyard hectare and goes up to BGN 5,000 (€2,500) for a hectare in vegetable production. The state aid is paid once.

Sub measure COVID II offers employment subsidiaries for employees in the agricultural industry as follows:

  • BGN 30 (€15) per employee, equated to the average number of staff - for applicants growing crops;
  • BGN 245 (€122) per employee, equated to the average number of staff - for applicants keeping pigs;
  • BGN 430 (€215) per employee, equated to the average number of staff - for applicants raising birds.

The measure targets farmers who have applied for support under the direct payment schemes in the national agricultural campaigns 2019 and 2020 or have applied and have been approved for de minimis state aid for beekeeping in 2019. Beneficiaries will also receive support with a valid contract or approved application under other measures within the scope of PRD 2014 - 2020.

Applicants may receive support for more than one of the farming activities within the framework, but not more than BGN 14,000 (€7,000).

The financial aid under sub-measure COVID III is offering state aid to agricultural small and medium enterprises that experience revenue decrease of at least 20% compared to 2019. The aid amounts 5% of the value of the declared income from the sale of processed agricultural products for 2019 or BGN 270 (€135) for an employee.

Application period for COVID I and II is 19 August 2020 - 21 September 2020.

Application period for COVID III is 26 October 2020 - 13 November 2020.


The following updates to this measure have been made after it came into effect.

07 April 2022

In 2022, due to the increased costs associated with primary agricultural production as a result of the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, further support under the measure: COVID-19: Liquidity support to farmers was implemented. The period for this measure under the Temporary Framework is 07 April 2022 to 30 June 2022. The budget is up to €290,000 (BGN 567,191) per enterprise in primary production of agricultural products.

Use of measure

Around 33,860 applications were submitted under the emergency measures COVID I and COVID II. Sub-measure I attracted 32,694 farmers and sub-measure II 1,166.

The COVID I sub-measure granted nearly BGN 70 million (€35 million) to about 30,000 farmers.

The payment of COVID I was initiated on 16 October 2020.

A total of about 30,000 farmers have (by the final date of the measure: 13 November 2020) received support under the measure, according to Bulgaria's agriculture minister. This met the initial expectations for the effect of the measure, as almost the entire allocated resource of €35 million was spent.

The final financial resource of BGN 143,500,000 under the State aid scheme "Liquidity support to farmers to overcome the negative economic impact of COVID-19" for 2022 has been confirmed. The budget is divided between: Livestock and small ruminants, bee colonies - BGN 79 million; Fruits and vegetables, oil rose and rice - BGN 64.5 million.

Target groups

Workers Businesses Citizens
Applies to all workers Solo-self-employed
Sector specific set of companies
One person or microenterprises
Does not apply to citizens

Actors and funding

Actors Funding
National government
Company / Companies
Other social actors (e.g. NGOs)
European Funds
National funds

Social partners

Social partners' role in designing the measure and form of involvement:

Trade unions Employers' organisations
Role Informed Informed
Form Not applicable Not applicable

Social partners' role in the implementation, monitoring and assessment phase:

  • No involvement
  • Main level of involvement: Unknown


The measures COVID I, II, III were designed after a request made by agricultural organisations and producers, who experienced the de minimis subsidies during the second quarter of 2020 as insufficient to combat the economic impacts in agriculture. They are welcoming the programmes.

Views and reactions

Most farmers see the measure as important and helpful. The need of the measure vary across sectors, as some sectors have been impacted stronger than others, also to factors related to climate. However, some industries like beekeeping see the aid insufficient to cover the looses caused by the pandemic.

Sectors and occupations

    • Economic area Sector (NACE level 2)
      A - Agriculture, Forestry And Fishing A1 Crop and animal production, hunting and related service activities
    • Occupation (ISCO level 2)
      Agricultural, forestry and fishery labourers


  • 10 June 2020: ДФЗ разпределя 4 млн. лв. за производители на плодове и зеленчуци (
  • 08 August 2020: Beekeeper: Measure COVID-19 is insufficient to compensate for the damage (
  • 18 August 2020: Admission under submeasures COVID 1 and COVID 2 begins (
  • 15 October 2020: The disbursement of funds under measure COVID 1 starts on 16 October (
  • 26 October 2020: As of today, the State Fund for Agriculture accepts applications under COVID 3 (
  • 09 December 2020: Над 30 000 земеделски производители получиха подкрепа по мерките за COVID-19 (
  • 04 May 2022: The SFA Management Board approved the financial resource in the amount of BGN 143.5 million under the Kovid assistance (
  • 10 March 2023: Temporary framework for State aid measures to support the economy in the context of the current epidemic outbreak of COVID-19 (


Eurofound (2020), COVID-19: State aid for agriculture, measure BG-2020-34/1181 (measures in Bulgaria), EU PolicyWatch, Dublin,


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Disclaimer: This information has not been subject to the full Eurofound evaluation, editorial and publication process.