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Bulgaria increases vine plantings

Published:  23 July, 2008

Bulgaria is increasing the amount of land under vine - the optimum coverage is thought to be 190,000 hectares - thanks to an organisation that helps candidate countries' prior to joining the European Union. SAPARD (Special Accession Programme for Agriculture and Rural Development) aims to help candidate countries deal with the problems of the structural adjustment in their agricultural sectors and rural areas'. The idea is that a company approaches SAPARD with a vineyard plan/project. If the project is approved, the company executes the plan and receives financial funding in the form of a grant. SAPARD came into effect on 1 January 2000 and is budgeted to operate until the end of 2006. Countries may benefit from the programme only before they join the European Union. Steve Abrahams of Domaine Boyar told Harpers that his company is looking to work with SAPARD and/or Bulgaria's Ministry of Agriculture in 2003. The latter plan would involve a loan used for developing another 100 hectares of Boyar's private landholding in Bulgaria that are not yet under vine. Abrahams said: We have a landholding that we are developing. This is the first year that we will be able to use grapes from our private vineyards. The exact figure is not yet known, but it looks like we will have between 50 and 100 tons of grapes at our disposal. Although not enough to be used for anything on a serious scale for export yet, we hope to produce a special batch of wine for the home market.' It's a case of young vines and early days,' he added.