Socio-economic and Ecological Sustainability of Smallholder Agricultural Holdings in Bulgaria

Hrabrin Ianouchev BACHEV


Abstract.  The issue of adequate assessment of socio-economic and ecological sustainability of divers agricultural holdingsis among most topical academic and practical problems. It is particularly important for smallholder farms accounting for the majority of all farms in the globe. In Bulgaria unregistered farms of Natural Personsaccount for almost 98% of all farms in the country, cultivate a third of all farmlands, graze 85% of cows, 90% of sheep, and around a third of pigs, and employ almost 93% of workforce in the sectors. This article applies a holistic framework and assesses sustainability of farms of Natural Persons in Bulgaria during current stage of EU CAP implementation. Initially a new governance aspect of farm sustainability is justified and method outlined. After that assessment is made of integral, governance, economic, social, environmental sustainability of farms of Natural Persons of different size, specialization, and location, and comparative sustainability to other type of farms. Finally, directions for further research and amelioration of sustainability assessment practices are suggested. Overall sustainability of Natural Persons in the country is at a good level, with superior levels for environmental and social sustainability, close to the low level governance sustainability, and inferior economic sustainability. Comparative sustainability of holdings is lower than other juridical type. There are great variations in sustainability levels of farms of different kind and location. Share of Natural Persons with good and high sustainability is smaller than other categories of farms and majority of Natural Persons have no comparative advantages in terms of sustainability, and in a middle term will cease to exist.

Keywords: Smallholders sustainability, Governance, Economic social environmental aspects, Bulgaria.

JEL. Q10, Q56, R33.


Smallholders sustainability; Governance; Economic social environmental aspects; Bulgaria.

Full Text:


Andreoli, M., & Tellarini, V. (2000). Farm sustainability evaluation: methodology and practice, Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment, 77(1-2), 43-52. doi. 10.1016/S0167-8809(99)00091-2

Bachev, H. (2004). Efficiency of agrarian organizations. Farm Management and Rural Planning, 5, 135-150.

Bachev, H. (2005). Assessment of Sustainability of Bulgarian Farms. Proceedings, XIth Congress of the European Association of Agricultural Economists. Copenhagen: EAAE.

Bachev, H. (2010). Governance of Agrarian Sustainability. New York: Nova Science Publishers.

Bachev, H. (2013). Risk Management in agri-food sector. Contemporary Economics, 7(1), 45-62. doi. 10.5709/ce.1897-9254.73

Bachev, H. (2016a). A framework for assessing sustainability of farming enterprises. Journal of Applied Economic Sciences, 11(39), 24-43.

Bachev H. (2016b). About governance and evaluation of sustainability of farming enterprise, Social and Administrative Sciences, 3(2), 161-201.

Bachev H. (2016c). An approach to assess sustainability of agricultural darm, Turkish Economic Review, 3(1), 29-53.

Bachev H. (2016d). What is sustainability of farms?, Journal of Economic and Social Thought, 3(1), 35-48.

Bachev, H. (2017). Sustainability level of Bulgarian farms. Bulgarian Journal of Agricultural Science, 1, 1-13.

Bachev, H., & Petters, A. (2005). Framework for assessing sustainability of farms, in Farm Management and Rural Planning. No 6, (pp.221-239), Kyushu University, Fukuoka.

Bachev, H., & Tsuji, M. (2001). Structures for organization of transactions in Bulgarian agriculture. Journal of the Faculty of Agriculture of Kyushu University, 46(1), 123-151.

Bachev, H. & Nanseki, T. (2008). Environmental management in Bulgarian agriculture – risks, modes, major challenges. Journal of the Faculty of Agriculture of Kyushu University, 53(1), 363-373. doi. 10.17721/1728-2667.2016/179-2/1

Bastianoni, S., Marchettini, N., Panzieri, M., & Tiezzi, E. (2001). Sustainability assessment of a farm in the Chianti area (Italy), Journal of Cleaner Production, 9(4), 365-373. doi. 10.1016/S0959-6526(00)00079-2

Brklacich, M., Bryant, C., & Smith, B. (1991). Review and appraisal of concept of sustainable food production systems. Environmental Management, 15(1), 1-14. doi. 10.1007/BF02393834

Csaki, C., Forgács, C., Milczarek, D., & Wilkin, J. (Eds) (2008). Regional Outcome: Central and Eastern Europe. Restructuring market relations in food and agriculture of Central and Eastern Europe - Impacts upon small farmers. Budapest: Agroinform.

Davidova, S. (2014). Small and semi-subsistence farms in the EU: Significance and development paths, EuroChoices, 13(1), 5-9. doi. 10.1111/1746-692X.12043

Diazabakana, A., Latruffe, L., Bockstaller, C., Desjeux, Y., Finn, J., Kelly, E., Ryan, M., & Uthes, S. (2014). A Review of Farm Level Indictors of Sustainability with a Focus on CAP and FADN, FLINT. [Retrieved from].

EC, (2001). A Framework for Indicators for the Economic and Social Dimensions of Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development. Brussels: European Commission.

FAO, (2013). SAFA. Sustainability Assessment of Food and Agriculture Systems Indicators. Rome: FAO.

Fuentes, M. (2004). Farms Management Indicators Related to the Policy Dimension in the European Union, OECD Expert Meeting on Farm Management Indicators and the Environment, 8-12 March 2004, New Zealand

Häni, F., Pintér, L., & Herren, H. (2006). Sustainable agriculture. from common principles to common practice, Proceedings of the first Symposium of the International Forum on Assessing Sustainability in Agriculture (INFASA), March 16, 2006, Bern, Switzerland.

Hayati, D., Ranjbar, Z., & Karami, E. (2010). Measuring agricultural sustainability, in E. Lichtfouse (Ed.), Biodiversity, Biofuels, Agroforestry and Conservation Agriculture, Sustainable Agriculture Reviews 5. (pp.73-100). Springer Science.

MAF, (2012). Agrarian Paper. Sofia: Ministry of Agriculture and Food.

OECD, (2001). Environmental Indicators for Agriculture. Vol. 3: Methods and Results. Paris: OECD.

Rigby, D., Woodhouse, P., Young, T., & Burton, M. (2001). Constructing a farm level indicator of sustainable agricultural practice. Ecological Economics, 39(3), 463-478. doi. 10.1016/S0921-8009(01)00245-2

Sauvenier, X., Valekx, J., Van Cauwenbergh, N., Wauters, E., Bachev, H., Biala, K., & Peeters, A. (2005). Framework for Assessing Sustainability Levels in Belgium Agricultural Systems – SAFE. Brussels: Belgium Science Policy.

UN, (2015). Paris Climate Change Conference, November-December 2015.

Williamson, O. (1996). The Mechanisms of Governance. New York: Oxford University Press.



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Journal of Economic and Social Thought - J. Econ. Soc. Thoug. - JEST -

ISSN: 2149-0422

Editor:   Secretarial:   Istanbul - Turkey.

Copyright © KSP Library