Bulgaria Table of Contents
When the BCP came to power, Bulgarian agriculture consisted primarily of 1.1 million peasant smallholdings. The party saw consolidation of these holdings as its most immediate agricultural objective. It dismantled the agricultural bank that had been a primary source of investment for the agriculture and food processing sectors before World War II.
The first attempts at voluntary collectivization yielded modest results, partly because open coercion was impossible until a peace treaty was signed with the Allies. The labor-cooperative farm (trudovo-kooperativno zemedelsko stopanstvo--TKZS) received official approval in 1945. It closely resembled Soviet cooperatives in organization, although members were guaranteed a share of profits and membership was (nominally) completely voluntary. By 1947 only 3.8 percent of arable land had been collectivized. After the communists won the first postwar election and the peace was concluded in 1947, pressure on private landholders increased. Although most small farmers had joined collectives, by 1949 only 12 percent of arable land was under state control--mainly because the collectivization program alienated many peasants. But between 1950 and 1953, the Stalinist regime of Vulko Chervenkov used threats, violence, and supply discrimination to produce the fastest pace of collectivization in Eastern Europe. Sixty-one percent of arable land had been collectivized by 1952. The process was declared complete in 1958 when 92 percent of arable land belonged to the collective farms. This ended the first phase of Bulgarian postwar agricultural restructuring.
Data as of June 1992