Bulgaria. Economy. Industry and energy. Agriculture

Following the Communist take-over in 1946, Bulgaria changed from an economy dominated by privately owned agricultural interests to one in which state-owned industry was of primary importance. During the period of industrialization, heavy industry was developed rapidly, and extremely high production goals were set by the government.

However, poor management and shortages of fuel and skilled labor have slowed economic growth in Bulgaria. At the same time, wherever an industry was allowed some degree of self-administration or profit-making, efficiency and productivity improved.

Tank trucks await refueling at an oil storage depot at Varna, one of the country's leading ports on the Black Sea. Although Bulgaria has two oil fields, its reserves are very small and the country imports most of its fuel.

During the period of Communist rule, Bulgaria maintained exceptionally close ties with the Soviet Union, partly out of gratitude for Russia's help in 1878 when they gained freedom from Turkish rule. Because of its relationship to the Soviet Union, Bulgaria was given the responsibility for research, development, and production in the field of microelectronics for all Eastern bloc countries. Bulgaria's historic city of Plovdiv became the nation's center for high technology.

Beginning in 1985, Bulgaria's trade links with Eastern bloc countries were gradually abandoned, and Bulgaria began to seek greater cooperation with Western countries. However, the rigidly controlled and heavily subsidized economy of Bulgaria was unable to compete with the free markets of Western countries and corporations.

In 1989, the Bulgarian government announced plans to reform industry and agriculture. These reforms called for a decrease in centralized planning, permitting the establishment of small, private enterprises. Some foreign participation was to be allowed in these enterprises, and shares in newly formed companies were to be made available to foreign, as well as Bulgarian, investors.

Industry and energy. Today, manufacturing, mining, and energy production account for about half of Bulgaria's net material product (NMP)-the total value of goods, and of services used in the production of these goods, by a country in a year. This sector also employs about a third of the nation's workers. Bulgaria's major industrial centers are Sofia, Dimitrovgrad, Plovdiv, Ruse, and Varna. The top manufacturing industries produce chemicals, machinery, metal products, processed foods, and textiles.

A cooper (barrel maker) produces wooden barrels for a local vineyard. Bulgaria produces red and white wines, as well as brandies, fruit liqueurs, and even a spirit made from roses. Some wine is exported to Western countries

Bulgaria has small deposits of many kinds of minerals. The country mines coal, copper, kaolin, lead, pyrite, salt, sulfur, and zinc. A nuclear power station at Kozloduy produces nearly 25 per cent of the country's electricity. Bulgaria must import most of its fuel.

Agriculture. Despite the industrialization of Bulgaria, agriculture still accounts for about 20 per cent of the country's net material product and employs about 25 per cent of the country's workers. Farmland covers about 15 million acres (6 million hectares), or more than half of Bulgaria.

A field of golden sunflowers outside the town of Lom, in northwestern Bulgaria, is almost ready for harvest. The seeds of sunflowers are crushed to extract a high-quality vegetable oil

Bulgaria's chief farm product is grain. Wheat and corn are the leading crops, and other grains include barley, oats, rice, and rye. Bulgarian farmers also grow a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, including apples, grapes, potatoes, pears, sugar beets, tomatoes, and watermelons. Roses are grown for their sweet-smelling oil, which is used as the basis for many world-famous perfumes. Livestock production, including dairy and beef cattle, chickens, pigs, and goats, is also an important activity. Cow's milk is a major farm product.

Roses are harvested by farmers in central Bulgaria tor their essence— a fragrant oil made by distilling rose petals plucked from still-closed buds. Thousands of buds are harvested by hand to produce 2 pints (1 liter) of oil.

Date added: 2023-03-21; views: 195;

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