Agricultural Academy, Institute of Agricultural Economics, BG-1113-Sofi a, Bulgaria
Bachev, H., 2017. Sustainability level of Bulgarian farms. Bulg. J. Agric. Sci., 23 (1): 1–13
Evaluation of farms’ sustainability is among the most topical academic, and farm management and policies forwarded issues. Nevertheless, there are no studies on sustainability of Bulgarian farms during current stage of EU CAP implementation. This article suggests a holistic framework for assessing integral, governance, economic, social, and environmental sustainability of Bulgarian farms, and assesses sustainability of holdings in general and of different juridical type, size, specialization, and location. Initially, a hierarchical framework for assessing farm sustainability is presented including a system of principles, criteria, indicators, and reference values. Next, assessment is made on overall, governance, economic, social, and environmental sustainability of Bulgarian farms based on a 2016 survey with managers of 190 typical farms. Our study has found out that the overall sustainability of Bulgarian farms is good, with superior levels for environmental and social sustainability, and inferior levels for governance and economic sustainability. With highest sustainability are Companies, Cooperatives, and farms with Big size, holdings in Pigs, Poultry and Rabbits, with Lands in Protected Zones and Territories, and located in Nonmountainous regions with handicaps, and South-Central region, while those Predominately for Subsistency and Mix-livestock specialization are with lowest sustainability. There is a great variation in portion of farms with different sustainability in each category as 30% of all farms are with low sustainability or unsustainable at all, including 34% of Physical Persons, a quarter of Sole Traders, 15% of Cooperatives, 57% of holdings with Mix-livestock and 45% in Vegetable, Flowers and Mushrooms, a half of Semi-market and a third of Small-size holdings, 39% of farms located in Mountainous regions with handicaps, and 40% of farms in South-West region. Sustainability assessments have to expend, and precision and representation increased. In addition to estimates of farm managers, assessments are to incorporate information from fi eld tests, statistical data, and expertise of specialists in the area.