Institute for Agricultural Economics, BG - 1113 Sofia, Bulgaria
IVANOV, B., 2007. Problems and opportunities for the milk sector in Bulgaria. Bulg. J. Agric. Sci., 13: 85-98
This paper is devoted to investigation of the problems and opportunities for the milk sector in Bulgaria, standing for one of the key sectors in Bulgarian agriculture, facing new challenges attributed to the future membership of Bulgaria in EU. Indeed the Bulgarian milk sector currently suffers various problems attributed to aggravated structure of the production farms, where about 83% of the farms keep up to 2 dairy cows and their sustainability and efficiency is strongly undermined. Besides, the challenges for the sector are spread at the milk production, collection and processing stages taking into account the EU requirements for hygiene and quality control. Nowadays, according to the preliminary estimations, merely 25% of the total produced cow milk meets the EU standards and about 18% of all running dairies are licensed to export in EU, which testifies for crucial needs for progress during 3 years derogation. The opportunities for the dairy sector are imputed to the foreboding good prospects for milk products export, as Bulgaria in the last couple of years sustains as a net exporter in terms of value and this trend is projected to keep on. Especially, the positive export trend is assumed for cheese products, which are the main milk derivative and are welcomed all over the world. The genial impulse on the living standard, which the annexation to EU is expected to conduce and significant access to the EU funds, can be reckoned as cue factors for improvement of the milk products quality and for modernization of the dairy farm conditions. Thus, the dairy sector can expect an increase of dairy consumption in the domestic market and withstanding competitiveness in EU market.