Competitiveness of agricultural farms of different juridical types, sizes, specialization, and locations in Bulgaria

Hrabrin BACHEV


Abstract. The competitiveness of farms is usually assessed through traditional indicators of technical and accountancy efficiency, the productivity of factors of production, the profitability of activity, farms’ market position and shares, etc. A systematic approach for defining competitiveness and formulating its pillars, principles, criteria, and indicators has been rarely implemented, end the critical governance aspects have been largely ignored. The article incorporates a holistic multipillars framework, and assesses the levels of and correlations between the competitiveness of Bulgarian farms of different juridical types, economic sizes, product specialization, and ecological and geographical locations. Farm competitiveness is defined as capability (governance and production potential) of an agricultural holding to maintain sustainable competitive positions on (certain) market(s), leading to high economic performance through continuous improvement and adaptation to changing market, natural and institutional environment. Accordingly, the main “pillars" of farm competitiveness are identified as Economic efficiency (Production Pillar), Financial endowment (Financial Pillar), Adaptability and Sustainability (Governance Pillar). For assessing the level of competitiveness of Bulgarian farms, a system of 4 criteria for each Pillar and 17 particular and 5 integral indicators are used. The study has found out that the level of competitiveness of agricultural holdings in the country is at a good level, but there is significant differentiation in the level and factors of competitiveness of holdings with different juridical types, sizes, product specialization, ecological and geographical location. The low adaptive potential and economic efficiency to the greatest extent contribute to lowering the competitiveness of Bulgarian agricultural producers. Especially critical for maintaining the competitive positions of farms are the low productivity, income, financial security and adaptability to changes in the natural environment, in which directions the public support of farms and their management strategies for development should be directed. A large share of farms of different types have a low level of competitiveness, and if measures are not taken in a due time to increase competitiveness by improving the management and restructuring of farms, adequate state support, etc., a large part of Bulgarian farms will cease to exist in the near future. The suggested approach for assessing the competitiveness of farms should be improved and applied more widely and periodically. The precision and representativeness of the information used should also be increased by increasing the number of farms surveyed, which requires close cooperation with other interested parties, and improving the system for collecting agro-statistical information in the country and the EU.

Keywords. Competitiveness; Production; Financial, and governance pillars; Farms.

JEL. Q10; O31; O33; Q01; Q16; Q18.


Competitiveness; Production; Financial, and governance pillars; Farms.

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