Subsistence Farming in Bulgaria Trends and Prospects

P. MISHEV and Ph. KOSTOV

University for National and World Economics, Departament of Agribusiness, BG-1756, Sofia, Bulgaria

Abstract

MISHEV, P. and Ph. KOSTOV, 2000. Subsistence farming in Bulgaria trends and prospects. Bulg. J. Agric. Sci., 6: 65-74

The process of transition to market economy has attracted the attention of policy makers, researchers and general public both in EU and CEECs. The main achievement of the recent development in the theory of transition is the understanding that the peculiarities of the period are grounded on the structural characteristics of the economy, which for agriculture is manifested by the existence of the subsistence farming. The detailed analysis of structure of Bulgarian agriculture reveals that it is currently characterised by dualistic structure comprising the market-oriented sector of commercial farms on one hand and small-scale subsistence farming on the other. The results of nationally representative farm household survey show that 77% of all private farmers in Bulgaria have a zero degree of commercialization. A consequence of that is the significant market disintegration and disruption of the market chains. The reasons for the significant role of subsistence agriculture in the country are searched in sharp increase of unemployment and decrease of incomes; market imperfection of the transitional economy and fragmentation of the land property. The influence of the subsistence agriculture on agricultural performance is examined with econometric SCAM model. The results show that subsistence farming is much more conservative than commercial one and does not react in a rational way to measures of price and trade policies. The main conclusion is that the problems of Bulgarian agriculture are structural ones, that can not be solve with short-term measures of price and trade policies.

Key words: subsistence farming, Bulgaria transition, market economy, EU, CEECs, private farmers