BULGARIAN WINES' EXPORT UP 26%
The export of Bulgarian wines reached 1,141,748 hectolitres in 2005, up from 804 953 hectolitres in 2004. That is a 26% growth, which is the highest over the last three years, Minister of Agriculture and Forestry Nihat Kabil said in Plovdiv on Wednesday. Bottled wine - 889,645 hectolitres - had the largest share in the total volume of export. Russia and Poland are the biggest markets for Bulgaria wine, accounting respectively for 60.6% and 21.6% of the sales. The efforts for gaining back the Russian market are still going on, said Nikola Nikolov, Chairman of the National Vineyard and Wine Chamber. Prices of export wines for Russia have smoothly increased by 6 per cent. The prices of wines, exported to Poland, are going up, too. The trend is that the wines from the new vineyards reach an average price level. The Bulgarian wines which are mostly exported at present are traded at EUR3.5-4 per bottle. EU countries account for 36% of bottled wines exports. Poland, Great Britain, the Czech Republic, Germany, Lithuania, Latvia, and Sweden are the main destinations among them. Exports of broached Bulgarian wines went up, too, reaching 242,113 hectolitres in 2005. Russia is the No 1 export market for them, accounting for 62% of all sales. The EU remains second. The countries with the biggest share in the export of broached Bulgarian wines are Germany, Great Britain, Sweden, France, Poland, Lithuania and Belgium.
According to official statistics, annual domestic consumption of wine is 30 million litres, and that of strong drinks is 50 million litres, Me. Nikolov announced. He expects annual wine consumption to reach 50 million litres. Each year imported wines' sales on the Bulgarian market increase several-fold, he added. He pointed out that the average price of BGN5-12 for Bulgarian wine renders it uncompetitive to foreign wine. Mr. Nikolov forecast is that Bulgaria will enter the EU with 850,000 dca of vineyards, up from the currently registered 630,000 dca. In the 2001-2005 period 27,484 dca of new vineyards were planted with money from the EU's SAPARD programme. The process of restoring vineyards of wine-making varieties of grapes continued last year and there was a great interest towards the opportunities to get rights for planting by the national reserve. 208 documents for planting new vineyards on a total of 2,536 hectares have been issued. There is overproduction of grapes in Bulgaria, at that in the legal part of the business, Mr. Nikolov announced. 210,000 tons are processed annually and the remaining quantity goes for illegal production of brandy, Mr. Nikolov believes.
The data were announced during the international Vinaria exhibition within the framework of the Plovdiv Fair, in which 517 firms from 34 countries participated this year. Foreign participants were 321. The biggest exhibits were showed by Italy, France and Germany. Ten Bulgarian wine-makers will take part in the fair in Dusseldorf with a common stall, Mr. Nikolov said. For the first time the State will finance the presentation of domestic companies in an exhibition abroad. BGN1.87MN has been collected in the Bulgarian Wine Fund from voluntary instalments by wine producers. After the State has set aside BGN 500,000 for advertising Bulgarian wine in 2005, the amount will be BGN 600,000 this year, Agriculture Minister Nihat Kabil said. The fund will make possible individual ads campaigns abroad under the motto Bulgarian wine - taste the Sun.
AGRICULTURE MINISTRY TO SUPPORT FARMERS WHO SUFFERED BY THE FLOODS
The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry is going to propose changes in the budget plan of the Agriculture State Fund, so that money can be provided in support of farmers harmed by the latest floods. That was announced by the Minister of Agriculture, Nihat Kabil, in Plovdiv last Wednesday. The Minister expects that the regional agricultural services provide him with summarized information about the damages caused by the rains within ten days. We want to help the people who suffered so that they can start their next year production cycle in the way we did it in 2005, Mr. Kabil explained. Support will only be offered to farmers whose crops have been damaged fatally, he added. According to him, assistance can only be expected by those who have registered as agricultural producers. Those affected should apply for inspection in the municipal and regional agricultural services as soon as possible. Mr. Kabil also reminded that the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry has already supported farmers affected by drought, floods or the sudden growth of fuel prices. Nihat Kabil visited Plovdiv in order to take part in the third high-level conference dedicated to the development of vine-growing and wine-producing in the countries of Southeast Europe. Bulgaria, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Greece, Macedonia, Romania, Serbia and Montenegro, and Turkey participated in the forum.