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“The Advisory Council on Land Relations will seek solutions related to the long-term and sustainable use of agricultural lands”, said Minister of Agriculture and Food, Kiril Vatev, at the first meeting of the advisory body, held at the Ministry of Agriculture. "Land relations are the foundation for everything, concerning plant-growing and livestock breeding. That is why the first Advisory Council, which gives a start to a number of other meetings in product lines, is related to land relations," commented Minister Vatev.

He pointed out that long-term relations in agricultural lands’ use could be a response to issues such as irrigation, increase of permanent crops, use of pastures and development of animal breeding. Minister Vatev emphasized that the issues are discussed in this meeting format as the branch organizations are part of the agri-food chain.

Minister Vatev added at a briefing after the meeting, that the topic of land relations affects all farmers and some problems are very difficult to be solved and need serious legislative and regulatory changes.

The Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Food, Georgi Toshev, announced that internal work rules of the advisory body were adopted at the first meeting. All decisions, including the new agenda for the next meeting, were unanimously adopted, and the talks were conducted in a constructive dialogue. Specific proposals for changes in the regulatory framework will be presented after the next Advisory Council, Deputy Minister Toshev added.

“Such an Advisory Council on land relations has been held for the first time. Relations in agriculture is very important issue for us. We cannot develop the sector without land, without sustainability and long-term prospects for its use," stated Veselina Ralcheva, member of the Board of the Bulgarian Bioproducts Association.

Yulia Kuyumdzhiyska, vice-president of the United Bulgarian Livestock Breeders, said that land relations are one of the means that could lead to the progress of livestock breeding in the country. She noted issues related to the cadastre, but also pointed out that problems related to mistakes made in the cadastral plans should also be considered.

“Land relations are the beginning of the agri-food chain”, commented Kostadin Kostadinov, the Chairman of the Board of the Bulgarian Agrarian Chamber and pointed out that the sector is waiting for a solution to pressing problems, as well as a change in the legislation.

The Executive Director of the Bulgarian Association of Agricultural Land Owners, Stefan Asenov, said that agricultural land is a limited natural resource, which is the basis of food security, but today's meeting is a step for solving problems in the right direction for the development of economically efficient and profitable agriculture.

"I believe that with a pragmatic, programmed leadership and reasonable constructive dialogue, we will solve at least part of the serious problems before us and we will move towards an increasingly sustainable agriculture step by step," said Sinan Veisal, the representative of the Fruits and Vegetables Branch Chamber.

The Chairman of the National Union of Cattle Breeders, Dimitar Zorov, commented that the State and Municipal Land Funds should be instruments for the policies’ implementation, as organic agriculture or animal husbandry could not be developed with short-term land leases.

Dimitar Zorov, Chairman of the Management Board of the National Union of Cattle Breeders in Bulgaria, expressed hope that in the future there will be predictability for agricultural producers and simplification of administrative procedures.

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