11. Green conditionality and eco-schemes in the CAP Strategic Plan of Bulgaria

Author: Nataliya Shukadarova


Bulgaria’s CAP Strategic Plan for developing agriculture and rural areas for 2023 – 2027 is implemented for the first year by farmers, with the campaign for submitting support applications ending in July 2023. The purpose of the present study is to investigate whether Bulgarian grain producers encounter challenges regarding the compliance and implementation of the „green architecture“ within the framework of direct payments under the Strategic Plan. In this regard, the possibilities of the grain producers in terms of compliance with the mandatory standards for the good agricultural and ecological condition of the land, as well as the farmers’ attitude to participate in one-year voluntary eco-schemes, were investigated. The survey results show that the most significant difficulties for grain producers are registered in compliance with standards for minimum soil cover to avoid bare soil in periods and areas that are most sensitive and for a minimum share of arable land devoted to non-productive areas and features. Surprisingly, the survey shows significant interest in grain producers’ participation in an eco-scheme to reduce the use of pesticides. The worrying results of the research are that amongst the country’s producers of grain and oil crops, farmers who did not apply for support under the basic scheme have been identified. Also, part of the grain producers would refuse to participate in support under the European funds because of the increased environmental requirements. Moreover, cereal producers who would give up agricultural activity if the environmental requirements for farmers are further increased have also been identified.

Keywords: CAP Strategic Plan, green architecture, green conditionality, GAECs, eco-schemes, grain producers