“In 2024, the team of the Ministry of Agriculture and Food will work on important legislative initiatives in the sector "Agriculture", including the law on the organization of trade rules in the supply chain of agricultural and food products, the law on branch organizations, the law on forests and a new law on hydromeliorations.” This was what the Minister of Agriculture stated this and Food, Kiril Vatev, who, together with the deputy ministers, reported the results of the work done in the last six months and presented the priorities of his team at a press conference at the Ministry.
We are sending a unique year off, a year during which we had a successfully conducted direct payments campaign with new rules and requirements, which were regulated by comprehensive directive, Minister Vatev said.
He recalled that the issues in the sector are solved comprehensively, covering the agro-food chain, in the created advisory councils with the participation of the branch organizations and interested parties, the first of which was on land relations, which are a priority for the ministry. The establishment of an Advisory Council on hydromeliorations, which are of primary importance for our entire agricultural production, is imminent, announced Minister Vatev.
The Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Food, Tanya Georgieva, presented the 16th amendment to the Program for the Development of Rural Areas 2014-2020 and commented that, in coordination with the State Fund "Agriculture", efforts are being made to catch up and minimize the risk of losing funds under the program with accelerated payments.
The Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Food, Georgi Toshev, pointed out that for the first time in 35 years, investments are being made in hydromelioration infrastructure with the 24 contracts signed for BGN 112.32 million with the contractor "Irrigation Systems" under the RDP. In 2024, an inventory of irrigated areas is due, which has not been done since 1999. He added that this year 16 million BGN state aid for irrigation was planned, successfully paid to farmers.
The Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Food Miroslav Marinov reported that the campaign to supply the population with firewood ensured the heating of more than 185 thousand households. Deputy Minister Marinov also recalled the participation of foresters in extinguishing forest fires and helping the population during floods.
he Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Food, Deyan Stratev, announced that as of mid-December, 96% of the budget of the Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Program 2014-2020 had been agreed upon. Project proposals for compensation of operators from the "Fisheries" sector as a result of the war are to be received in Ukraine for 2023 in the amount of nearly BGN 12.3 million.
In connection with the activity of the Bulgarian Food Safety Agency, he informed that the design and construction of a new laboratory for the purposes of official control for testing for pesticide residues at the Kapitan Andreevo border checkpoint has begun. The laboratory will be authorized in early 2024.
The Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Food Alexander Iotzev presented the balance sheet for the 2023 Campaign for direct payments. He pointed out that a legislative package for the Strategic Plan was prepared, and more than 60,000 farmers submitted applications for support in the campaign. The approved applications were subject to the terms implementation of good agricultural environmental standards. “By digitizing the processes, farmers can quickly and securely submit their requests and the administrative burden will be reduced$,added Deputy Minister Iotzev.
The executive director of the State Fund Agriculture Georgi Takhov and the executive director of BFSA, Dr. Svetlozar Patarinski as well took part in the press conference.