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Bulgaria

The Role of Private Plots

After 1970 the only consistent contribution to agricultural production growth was family farming on private plots leased from the agricultural complexes. These plots could not be bought or sold or worked by hired labor, but their yield belonged to the tenant. In 1971 special measures were instituted to increase the number and the availability of personal plots. Beginning in 1974, peasant households were permitted to lease additional plots and given free access to fertilizer, fodder seed, and equipment belonging to their agricultural complexes. To encourage this practice, the government extended loans and waived income taxes. More importantly, delivery prices increased for agricultural products. In the mid-1970s, a reduced work week for urban workers and relaxed requirements for plot leasing encouraged weekend cultivation of personal plots by the nonagricultural population. Plot size limits were removed in 1977.

By 1982 personal plots accounted for 25 percent of Bulgaria's agricultural output and farm worker income. In 1988 personal plots accounted for large shares of basic agricultural goods: corn, 43.5 percent; tomatoes, 36.8 percent; potatoes, 61.5 percent; apples, 24.8 percent; grapes, 43.2 percent; meat, 40.8 percent; milk, 25.2 percent; eggs, 49.4 percent; and honey, 86 percent. The sales from plots to town markets meant that despite low overall agricultural growth rates in the 1980s, the urban food supply actually improved in many areas during the early and mid-1980s.

Data as of June 1992