300 FOOD PROCESSING COMPANIES TO BE CLOSED
The State Veterinary Supervision (SVS) is going to close some 300 enterprises processing animal products. The news was announced after the Restructuring of Companies Producing Animal Food Products roundtable, held on December 17. The measure corresponds to the harmonization of Bulgaria's legislation with the European laws in the field of food industry. It will only concern companies that are not planning investments in new technologies and equipment, SVS Director Dr. Iliyan Kostov said. During the negotiations on the Agriculture chapter, an extention of the grace period until 2005 was negotiated for firms which operate according to their own business plan and have found sources of financing, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Forestry Meglena Plugchieva said. That is why last week the Ministry of Agriculture moved to the Council of Ministers a proposal to redirect BGN165MN worth SAPARD subsidies for forestry and agricultural investments to projects aimed at improving the marketing and processing of animal products.The money will be distributed according to two schemes. One concerns the introduction and certification of ISO quality management programmes and the system for critical points control. It provides up to EUR80,000 but applicants must provide their own sources of co-financing for up to 25% of the planned investment. The other scheme stipulates subsidies varying from EUR10,000 to EUR50,000. However, it requires the applicants to provide 50% of the amount of the investment credit.