On 30 October 2015 the Bulgarian Ministry of Agriculture and Foods implemented sub-measure No. 4.2 of the Program for Rural Development for the period 2014-2020, on “Investments in processing/marketing of agricultural products”.

The aim of the measure is to improve the competitiveness of the food-processing industry by making available financial support for projects that, among others, lead to:

  • new or modernized facilities; 
  • new products, processes and technologies;
  • reduction of production costs;
  • energy efficiency improvement;
  • increased production of bio-foods by the initial processing of raw agricultural bio-products.

Financial aid shall be available for investments in production, processing or marketing of agricultural products in the following production sectors (among others):

  • milk and dairy products, including bird eggs;
  • meat and meat products;
  • fruits and vegetables;
  • cereals, grain and starch products, excluding bread and pastry;
  • certain energy projects of up to 1 MWp where the energy/fuel is used for the applicant’s own production and the project does not exceed the needs of the applicant.

Priority is granted to the following types of investments:

  • processing raw materials from specific sectors (specific vegetable and fruit varieties, fiber plants, annual and perennial plants and animal breeds);
  • implementing new and energy-efficient technologies and innovations in the food processing industry;
  • processing bio-raw materials and producing bio-products;
  • leading to sustainable employment in rural areas;
  • implemented in the North-Western region of Bulgaria.

The new measure recognises the expenditure for the following activities:

  • construction, acquisition and modernisation of buildings or other real estate assets, related to production or marketing;
  • purchasing equipment and facilities, necessary for improving processing and marketing production, related to packaging, cooling, freezing, drying or storing;
  • development of new products, implementation of new technologies and processes;
  • production of electricity from renewable energy sources for own needs, including processing of vegetable and animal raw biomass;
  • improving energy efficiency, food safety and quality control;
  • acquisition of land, necessary to implement the project;
  • acquisition of buildings, premises and other real estate, necessary to implement the project, designated for production activities in rural areas;
  • purchase of specialised transportation vehicles for raw materials;
  • project-related costs, including feasibility studies, preliminary and post-implementation cost for architect, engineering and economical consultancy services (up to 12 % of the overall expenditures),

The financial aid will be in the range of EUR 15,000 – 3,000,000 and will be provided as reimbursements for the above admissible expenditures with a cap of 50 % of the total amount of the admissible investments for micro and small and medium enterprises, and 40 % for projects submitted by large enterprises.

The Minister of Agriculture and Foods is expected to adopt and publish an order that shall specify the timeframe for filing of documents and applications. The expected opening date is 23 October 2015 with the term for document reception expected to be three weeks.