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COVID-19 EU PolicyWatch

Database of national-level responses

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

Factsheet for case BG-2020-34/1181 – 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
Type Legislations or other statutory regulations
Category Supporting businesses to stay afloat
– Direct subsidies (full or partial)
Author Eva Dimitrova (for Eurofound)
Case created 24 September 2020 (updated 02 February 2021)

Background information

The Bulgarian government has implemented three special funding programmes for agriculture business that has 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 (approx. €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 (approx. €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 (approx. €3.15 million) and covers micro, small or medium-sized agricultural enterprises. Exception make 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 in the published in the State Gazette, issue no. 70 of 7 August 2020. Ordinance № 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.

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.

Target groups

Workers Businesses Citizens
Applies to all workers Solo-self-employed
Sector specific set of companies
SMEs
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

Involvement

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

Sources

  • 10 June 2020: ДФЗ разпределя 4 млн. лв. за производители на плодове и зеленчуци (www.monitor.bg)
  • 08 August 2020: Beekeeper: Measure COVID-19 is insufficient to compensate for the damage (agri.bg)
  • 18 August 2020: Admission under submeasures COVID 1 and COVID 2 begins (www.dfz.bg)
  • 15 October 2020: The disbursement of funds under measure COVID 1 starts on 16 October (bnr.bg)
  • 26 October 2020: As of today, the State Fund for Agriculture accepts applications under COVID 3 (www.dfz.bg)
  • 09 December 2020: Над 30 000 земеделски производители получиха подкрепа по мерките за COVID-19 (bntnews.bg)

Citation

Eurofound (2020), COVID-19: State aid for agriculture, case BG-2020-34/1181 (measures in Bulgaria), COVID-19 EU PolicyWatch, Dublin, http://eurofound.link/covid19eupolicywatch

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