Bulgaria is one of the leading producers of essential oils and organic products in the EU and one of the EIT-Food RIS countries.
The Agri-food sector is an important driver of the Bulgarian Economy
The agri-food sector plays a leading role in the Bulgarian economy. Traditionally rich preserved biodiversity, soil fertility and rural communities are still the main drivers for keeping the high share of agri-food in value-added (EIT-Food Foresight, 2020). A significant amount of the Bulgarian population, including young producers and entrepreneurs, is engaged in the agri-food sector as the country is among the major exporters of food, beverages, and tobacco as a percentage of the GDP in Europe. The country is renowned for its quality herbs essential oils, yoghurt and cheese, grapes and wine. The sector is also quickly adopting innovations in agri-food technology and establishing agri-food innovation ecosystems.
Room for Improvement
A number of vulnerabilities and challenges such as decreasing employment share and an ageing workforce, volatility & seasonality in production output, labour & skill shortage, pressure on cost competitiveness, the sector is still vulnerable to external market shocks, the level of the investments in the research and innovations, etc. require interventions in Intensify transfer of technologies from the public to the private sector, improved synergy between market-oriented R&I entities, and education in ‘food system’ skills for students, entrepreneurs and professionals.
EIT Food Hubs in Bulgaria: Agricultural University Plovdiv
Agricultural University Plovdiv supported by the Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski”, will carry out joint activities of the EIT-Food Hub in Bulgaria. The Hub will act as a catalyst of partnerships for increasing uptake of the knowledge and skills by the agri-food sector players and stakeholders, facilitate the participation of students, researchers, entrepreneurs, start-ups, industry representatives and experts to EIT Food programs and initiatives at the European level, creating conditions to support the development of agri-food industry start-ups, transfer of scientific knowledge and innovative technologies and joint participation in national and international programs and projects.
Bulgaria is the homeland of yogurt. It has a long and storied history that is said to date back at least 4000 years. Bulgarians call their yoghurt “sour milk” and they think it’s what makes them live long lives.