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Bulgaria is in favour of the introduction of increased support for the so-called first hectares of farmers as to direct payments, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Food Svetlana Boyanova said.

She spoke at the EU’s Agriculture and Fisheries Council in Brussels, where implementing the scheme was discussed for the first time at a ministerial level.

‘Such a payment is necessary so that we can back smaller farms where payrolls are higher than in larger ones which achieve economies of scale,’ according to Boyanova.

The European Parliament suggests that the first 50 hectares of the holding should be counted as first hectares. According to the Irish presidency’s proposal, the payment should be based on the average size of farms, which is 6 hectares for Bulgaria. The parameters of the scheme will be finalized jointly by the EU’s Agriculture and Fisheries Council and the European Parliament.

Deputy Minister Boyanova said that flexibility is needed to allow each member state to adjust the scheme according to its needs. ‘For us, it is essential that the size of the first hectares is determined by the member states up to a certain limit at a EU level, with no specific reference to the average size of the holding,’ she added.

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