Bulgaria Economic Conditions

Economic planning, which began in 1947, transformed Bulgaria from an eminently agricultural country into a predominantly industrial one. Employees in primary activities fell from 44.3% in 1965 to 42% in 1970, while those in secondary activities increased in the same period from 33.3% to 37%. This trend is also highlighted by the evolution of gross production which in the period 1950-70 increased by 2.3 times in the agricultural sector, but by 11 times in the industrial sector, with a clear prevalence of capital goods over consumer goods. Of the total volume of production of goods, industry now accounts for 76% (1970), against 24% for agriculture. The development got new impetus in 1969 with the entry into force of the economic reform,

According to indexdotcom, agricultural policy, after having achieved the objectives of collectivization and initial modernization, starting from 1959 has turned above all to the specialization of companies, concentrating the productions where agricultural conditions could ensure the highest yields, to the adoption of the most rationales and the spread of the most profitable crops, also in relation to the possibilities offered by foreign trade. Thus a process of merging the companies was initiated to achieve ever greater production dimensions (up to 30-40,000 ha) for the purposes of organizing the product transformation industries and the distribution network. This has occurred above all in the sectors of specialized crops and poultry and pig breeding, with the establishment of enterprises.

The production facilities were constituted in 1969 by 795 cooperative companies (with an average of 4136 ha of arable land and 1212 full-time employees), 159 state-owned companies (with an average of 4042 ha of arable land and 990 employees), 66 machine stations and tractors (which served an average of 115,000 ha), 31 seed companies, 19 state centers for hill crops and 30 experimental farms run by the Academy of Agricultural Sciences. The agricultural area was divided 21% among state-owned companies of various types, 69% among cooperatives and 10% among full-time or part-time individual owners associated with the cooperatives. The guidelines of agricultural policy are reflected in the variations in land use: between 1961 and 1972 herbaceous crops fell from 40 to 37.2%, woody crops rose from 2 to 3.5%, natural meadows and pastures (including uncultivated and unproductive lands) from 25 to 25.4%, forests and woods from 33 to 33.9%. Irrigation has made great progress, of which 959,000 ha benefited in 1969, compared to 500,000 in 1958. The decrease in cereal and forage production is matched by an increase in industrial production (sugar beet, sunflower seeds, tobacco), fruit and vegetables (legumes, potatoes, tomatoes, grapes, apples) and livestock (pork, poultry and dairy products).

Considerable improvements were made in unit yields, thanks above all to the increasing use of agricultural machinery and fertilizers (in 1970: 1 tractor per 109 ha and 112 kg of fertilizers per ha).

In the forestry sector a policy of reforestation is in place (1,096,000 ha of new woods from 1952 to 1969) and of mechanization of utilization techniques. The production of timber thus exceeded 5 million m 3 (1970). The development of fishing activities was also noteworthy (156,000 t of fish landed in 1973, against only 19,800 t in 1965).

The industrial sector has been almost totally socialized, except for some small private industries and artisan companies which contribute just 0.4% of the product (1970). Economic planning has so far favored heavy industry over light industry. In terms of the value of industrial production, in the period 1960-69 the energy industries increased from 2 to 2.8%, the metallurgical industries (including the extraction of minerals) from 5.5 to 6.8%, the mechanics from 12, 4 to 19.2%, chemicals and rubber from 3.7 to 7.2%, while light industries (textiles, wood, leather, food, etc.) fell from 61.1 to 38, 8%.

The mining sector has remained rather stationary, after some development in the extraction of fuels (lignite, oil and natural gas) and iron ores. On the other hand, the increase in electricity production was noteworthy, which went from 2073 million kWh in 1955 to 22,271 million in 1972, with an installed capacity of one fifth of water. Among the new thermoelectric plants, the Bobov Dol one is worthy of note. A large hydroelectric plant will be built in agreement with Romania on the Danube at Somovit-Izlas. The Bulgarian network has been connected with the Soviet one, from which it receives large imports. Bulgaria, which owns uranium mines in Bulkovada, already has an experimental nuclear reactor (1.5 MW) in Sofia, and a nuclear thermoelectric power plant in Kozloduy (880 MW),

The steel industry brought the production of cast iron and ferroalloys from 206,000 t in 1961 to 1,514,000 t in 1974, that of steel from 340,000 t to 2,184,000 tons. Great progress has also been made in the mechanical and electromechanical industries. Since 1964 Bulgaria has been producing tractors (3,500 in 1970), while motor vehicles are assembled in Bulgaria thanks to agreements with Soviet, Czechoslovakian, French, Italian and West German industries (12,100 vehicles in 1972). The Bulgarian shipyards are very active and in 1969 they launched 86 ships for a total of 132,000 GRT, also for export; in the Varna shipyard, two supercharges for dry cargo ships up to 40,000 tons and tankers up to 70,000 ts are under construction. The production of sulfuric acid increased from 19,000 t in 1955 to 760,800 t in 1974; that of nitrogen fertilizers from 31,000 t in 1955 to 523,000 t in 1972; that of cement from 812,000 t in 1955 to 4,296,000 t in 1974.

Bulgaria Economic Conditions