MANUFACTURERS DOUBLE RAW MATERIALS DEMAND
In recent years, Bulgarian canning factories have been operating at half of their capacity, agricultural statistics shows. However, the reason is not the lack of markets as it used to be in the period 1990-1995, but the lack of raw materials from Bulgarian producers. Large companies that produce fruit juices buy only small amounts of apple concentrate on the domestic market and import the rest of the material they need from abroad. According to branch experts, this practice raises the price of the final product and reduces the amount of sales. However, the import allows a realistic production programme to be made, manufacturers say, because they know for sure what raw material at what price would receive.There are slightly more than 80 companies that partially can or process fruit in Bulgaria. In each of the past two years, about 60,000 tons have been processed. More than half of the raw materials has been bought directly from local producers, 75% of which - without written agreements. It means that canning factories do not know until the last minute what they will receive from domestic producers and how much they will pay for it. Wholesale dealers and intermediaries provide just 15% of all the fruit bought. Five types of fruits - apple, peach, plum, cherry, and apricot, account for over 90% of all processed fruit. The import provides... the rest of the amount needed for processing. Apple is the most imported fruit.A few months ago, fruit canning factories declared to the state institutions that they needed over 50% increase of the amount of fresh fruit in order to satisfy the demand and to utilise their production capacity. Right now, however, Bulgarian agriculture is not able to produce the necessary amounts of raw materials.