Grand Agro (Rakovski)

Grand Agro (Rakovski)

Josif Delgianski

Rakovski is a small town some 30 kilometres from Plovdiv and a largely rural area. A number of agricultural entrepreneurs have benefited from the EU's SAPARD programme.

One of these is "Grand Agro". Until 1992 the company was a communist co-operative with some 150 workers, "too many" as Josif Delgianski, director of "Grand Agro", puts it. He and two partners bought the co-operative in 1992. Today it employs 25 people on a permanent basis and has an annual turnover of about € 2 million.

It was not however, before the company benefited from two SAPARD projects that business started to move in the right direction. In 2003, the first project allowed the purchase of two tomato combines from Italy and to set up irrigation facilities for the tomato fields. A second project in 2004 provided money to buy two big tractors and one harvesting combine from Germany. The two projects have a total value of one million Euro, out of which half came from SAPARD.

"This new equipment is crucial", says director Delgianski, "my other tractors are very old, 20 to 30 years, and are very inefficient. They consume two times the fuel that a modern tractor needs and still perform considerably less work."  In addition, Grand Agro bought two used combines through own means. Since the start of the SAPARD programmes, the company has considerably expanded and more than tripled the land it works.* ESI Interview with Josif Delgianski, director of Grand Agro, 25 October 2006. Grand Agro has reached its internal tipping point and now is able to purchase another two tractors and two combines which will increase productivity even further.

By 31 May 2007, another 1,604 agricultural companies had benefited from Sapard projects of this kind, amounting to a total project volume of € 478 million. 852 of them have been in the wheat sector. Measured against the NARDP's performance indicators, results for the measure "investments in agricultural holdings" have by end 2005 in most areas reached or came close to the envisaged targets. The only major failure to reach envisaged targets is cow breeding.

Table: Performance for measure 1.1 – investment in agricultural holdings (by 31 December 2005)* Annual Report on Sapard Implementation in the Republic of Bulgaria for the period January 1st 2005 to December 31st 2005, May 2006, pp. 24-25.
   

NARDP indicator (aim)

Approved projects

Completed projects

Cow breeding premises

Livestock head

14,250

1,527

757

Swine breeding premises

Livestock head

23,300

618,068

179,586

Poultry breeding premises

Livestock head

425,000

8,156,172

6,938,805

Machinery (tractors, harvesters, cultivators, etc. )

nr.

2,050

4,158

3,809

Green houses (new and rehabilitated)

ha

62

203

135

Perennials:

       

   Orchards – new and rehabilitated

ha

3,500

1,838

1,449

   Vineyards

ha

4,100

2,886

711

   Berries

ha

1,100

1,027

581

   Essential oil crops, perennial medicinal crops

ha

1,200

1,102

646