Farmer's Voice

Leaf Prices Disappoint Farmers in Bulgaria

In Bulgaria, where the leaf selling season began in October 2015, Asen Kichukov, deputy chair of the National Association of Tobacco Growers, said that not even 50% of this year's output has been sold so far as growers are disappointed with prices, which he said are lower by about BGN 0.70-0.80 (US$ 0.39-0.44) per kg compared to last year, despite improved quality. Kichukov said burley tobacco has received prices of between BGN 2.20 (US$ 1.22) and BGN 2.80 (US$ 1.56) per kg. The prices for Oriental tobacco have ranged from BGN 4.20 (US$ 2.34) to BGN 5.00 (US$ 2.78) per kg in Kardzhali, while the prices of the Kabakulak variety ranged from BGN 3.00 (US$ 1.67) to BGN 3.50 (US$ 1.95) per kg in Northeast Bulgaria. Prices are expected to decline further, he noted. The growers' association was set to meet on January 11th to discuss the issue (Focus English News 1/11). Some Tobacco Growers Switch To Saffron Cultivation

With the Bulgarian government reportedly cutting subsidies for tobacco growers, some farmers in the southern region of Kurdjali, where tobacco used to be an important crop, are switching to saffron cultivation. Ali Suleyman of the village of Glouhar said he is currently cultivating saffron on 0.12 hectare of land to see how it works. Hassan Tahirov of the Rhodope area who has founded a national saffron association to make the crop popular said "strongly fragmented and small land plots" are perfect for saffron cultivation. Tahirov said he has contacted Iranian experts on saffron cultivation, as the country reportedly accounts for 90% of the global saffron production. At a recent forum on saffron growing, Galina Angelova, head of the local agricultural advisory service, said the government is not providing anu subsidies for saffron cultivation at this stage. About 300 tons of saffron are produced annually now in the world, and the lhe leading producers of the crop are Iran, Spain, Greece, India, Azerbaijan, Morocco and Italy (BTA Daily News 1/7).

During a meeting with Bulgarian Deputy Agriculture Minister Tsvetan Dimitrov on January 15th, tobacco purchasing companies did not set a deadline, but said they will purchase all contracted tobacco, with the purchase of Kabakulak variety to conclude within a week.The meeting also discussed upcoming changes to the meeting discussed upcoming changes to the Tobacco and Tobacco Products Act that calls on the Agriculture and Food Ministry to create a national register of tobacco growers and traders