Process Management

News 188 views last update:6 Aug 2012

Bulgarian farmers turn to energy crops

Bulgarian farmers are increasing the area of crops in respond to the surge in local and global demand for bio fuels.

The domestic area of rapeseed for bio diesel has quadrupled year-on-year to 40,000 ha in 2007.

EU funding
The switch to energy crops is additionally fuelled by the availability of EU funding. As of this year, Bulgarian farmers are entitled to a top-up subsidy of 90 levs for each hectare of energy crops. Together with the 150 levs/ha available under the general subsidy scheme, the lump payout reaches 240 levs/ha which is 50% more than the handout to which non-energy crop farmers are entitled, said deputy farming minister Dimitar Peichev.

Foreign investment
There are further cash incentives for technical crops farmed at altitude or on abandoned fields. The government will draft a programme encouraging the farming of grain and sunseed varieties used in energy production, said Peichev. Foreign investors are also expected to make a play for the local technical crops market. In January 2007, food and agricultural products provider Cargill opened a grain and oilseed trading office in Sofia.
The company said the office will provide further opportunities for Bulgarian farmers. Cargill's trading activities will primarily focus on exporting wheat, corn, sunflower seeds, barley and rapeseed, though domestic contracts will also be executed.

Bio fuel production
The domestic facilities for the production of bio diesel have a combined input capacity of 450,000 tons, said Dimitar Zamfirov, chairman of the Association of the Bio Diesel Producers. The local bio diesel refineries are expected to produce 140,000 tons in 2007. Output will increase further to 400,000 tons annually with the delivery of new refineries currently under construction. The local production facilities for bio ethanol have an annual output capacity of 22,000 tons. Two new refineries are expected to start operation in 2008, boosting total output to 66,000 tons annually.

Note: 1 Lev = €0.51 or US$0.67

Related link:
Dossier AllAbout Bio Energy

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