On 15 June 2015 the Bulgarian Parliament adopted, at a second hearing, the Bill for the Closing Down of the National Grain Service (the “Bill”). The Bill aims to liberalize the grain market by avoiding the unnecessary and burdensome licensing and registration regimes for storage and trade in grain.
Promulgation of the Bill in the State Gazette and its entering into effect are pending. Once it becomes law, the Bill will repeal the Grain Storage and Trade Act.
Under the Bill, the National Grain Service will be closed down and its rights and obligations will be transferred to the Ministry of Agriculture and Food (except for the central and regional laboratories for qualification of grain and the duties related to grain control which shall pass to the Bulgarian Food Safety Agency).
Additionally, once it becomes law, the Bill will terminate all existing licenses for public grain storehouses, certificates for registration of granaries and certificates for registration of grain traders.
Of note, the Bill amends the Common Organization of Markets in Agricultural Products of the European Union Implementing Act. Key amendments introduce the following reporting obligations for owners and users of grain storage sites and grain producers:
- Owners and/or users of new grain storage sites must declare the sites’ locations and capacity with the appropriate District Office of Agriculture (applicable for grain storage sites with capacity above 200 tons). The District Offices of Agriculture shall then issue certificates and register the grain storage sites in district specific databases. Existing public grain storehouses, granaries and other grain storage sites will be registered ex officio.
- Owners and/or users managing grain storage sites must file, with the respective District Office of Agriculture, monthly declarations, specifying the storage site and present quantity of grain.
- Grain producers must file quarterly declarations with the respective District Office of Agriculture stating their produced and available grain. Wheat shall be declared on a monthly basis during summer time.
Companies who fail to submit the above declarations may face monetary sanctions of up to BGN 15,000 (ca. EUR 7,500).
Law: Bill for the Closing Down of the National Grain Service (ref. No 502-01-44 / 4 June 2015); Grain Storage and Trade Act, State Gazette, issue No. 93 / 11 August 1998, as amended; Food Safety Agency Act, State Gazette, issue No. 8/25 January 2011, as amended; Common Organization of Markets in Agricultural Products of the European Union Implementing Act, State Gazette, issue No. 96/28 November 2006, as amended.