State Fund Agriculture

  • 136 Tzar Boris III Blvd, Sofia 1618,
  • UIC: 121100421
  • 02/81-87-100, 02/81-87-202
  • dfz@dfz.bg

Hot mobile phones for RDP beneficiaries.

Contracting Directorate
0884 362 285; 0889 502 487;
Authorization Directorate
0889 922 624; 0889 502 906

 

Ministry of Agriculture

Interviews - People believe that SFA functions well as an organization

 

-Mr. Porodzhanov, HappyNewYear! I wish you а lot of success and no more unpleasant incidents. What did you wish for after the incident?
 
-Thank you! I haven’t thought of anything to wish for. I am an active man and work comes first for me. Success is tied to good health, of course. My success at work means success for our beneficiaries. Our approach is to communicate actively with people and branch organizations on a local level and make them see that  money is available and all they need to do is learn how to apply for it.
 
- Do you manage the largest monetary resource in the country? Is this the reason for the assault?
 
-Of course not. There are ministries and also the National Income Agency that operate on a much larger financial scale than State Fund Agriculture (SFA). On this note, we are now managing the capital of the Guarantee Fund and the Rural Development Programme (RDP), which is currently working superbly. Dare I say, the results are more than respectable.
 
-Both Prime Minister Borisov and the Minister of agriculture Naydenov praised you for the amount of work you completed in the past 10 months. In your opinion, why wasn’t the system working before?
 
-I wouldn’t comment on the work done before me. SFA has had both better and worse times. When I began work, I focused on the most urgent matters – the direct payments and national complementary payments for 2010 and the subsidies for agri-environment. There was also a huge holdup in the form of 2000 RDP proposals left over from 2009-2010.
 
-How did you resolve the holdup?
 
- With the same experts, but with a new management and organization. Within a month, we identified the problems with the RDP and the reason the process was so slow. In the middle of May, we began contracting the projects that were delayed during those two years. As of this moment, we have contracted nearly 500 million euro of EU subsidies. We even outperformed the RDP plan for 2011.
 
- Has EU funding really become readily available to Bulgarian farmers?
 
- As I was closing contracts, I saw people believe that SFA is indeed working and they recognized it as a functional organization. These 500 million euro are only subsidies for contracted projects. Additionally, private measures are subsidized at 40-60%, so projects worth 1.5 billion leva will infuse our economy. This brings investments, taxes, consumption increases, production increases, a higher standard of living in rural areas, etc. SFA is very dynamic in terms of the ever increasing number of beneficiaries we are working with. Over 120 000 farmers received subsidies from the Guarantee Fund for land and cattle. There are 30 000 tobacco-growers. We funded them last year and we will fund them this year as well. SFA is a reality. People can touch it – I see their hands reaching out.  
 
- You completed all this work and you are getting punished? Who could be upset with you? Could it be beneficiaries who have to return money?
 
- I don’t think so. There was a committee that investigated the cases of farmers that have to return money. This was several years ago and it has nothing to do with my work. Plus, there are only a few debtors, and they owe around 50 000 leva. The rest are very small sums.
 
- Then who could be upset with you? Personal enemies?
 
- I would dismiss any personal motives. Someone’s economic interests are at stake. SFA manages 1.5 billion leva each year and this number will keep rising. We have a really huge number of beneficiaries. The burden of SAPARD is, however, still affecting the fund negatively. What I found was very unpleasant – a book of debtors with 240 million leva in debts. We went to court with most of them. The case of each debtor is reviewed separately and, based on court decisions, our experts do a thorough investigation. At the moment, the book’s balance is reduced to 160-170 million leva. Our approach is very tolerant because, if someone is a debtor, they cannot apply for funding later. 
 
- You avoid talking about the incident. But after all, you must have some conclusions. You do have answers, right?
 
- I do my own analysis. The truth is that we work a lot and on a very large scale. This is valued highly by the associations, municipalities, the members of Parliament and all parliamentary committees. 
 
- Have you been coerced into approving proposals?
 
- No. Everyone wants his or her proposal approved. But when we explain the requirements and procedures they understand. Everyone can apply, as long as they follow the regulations. The important thing here is that the process is working well and we know how to keep it working. This May we uploaded a list of all our 92 000 beneficiaries on our webpage. Now everyone can have a look and verify. Agri-environment experts also now upload data electronically, which can be processed immediately.
 
- What financial risks will there be in 2012?
 
- I will answer this question as a financial expert. The year will be hard in the context of the financial recession, which directly affects markets. The analysis of the agricultural sector indicates that we have a robust production of grain and industrial crops like rapeseed and sunflower. These sectors are stable. Stockbreeders and plant growers, however, need to find a market niche, instead of complaining that there is no market for their production. The financial crisis in Greece could affect some of our sectors because Greece is a trade partner.
  
- The large subsidies allotted to grain-producers were widely discussed. Then the government reduced their national complementary payments. Will this affect the sector?
 
- To be honest, I am never concerned about the amount of the subsidies or who the recipient is, as long as everything is done in accordance with regulations. We are a paying agency and we apply the regulations as they are. We pay everyone who is in compliance with the rules. We don’t decide who will receive payments and how much. We only apply the EU regulations and administer them.
 
- I’d like to come back to the incident. Have you formed a conclusion in the past few days?
 
- I will decline a comment. I make my own conclusions but they don’t lead me anywhere.
 
- Some people claim that you are “the agent of Finance Minister Dyankov” in the team of Agriculture Minister Naydenov. Who exactly recommended you for the position? And is it true that you initially declined?
 
- I am no one’s agent. I am Rumen Porodzhanov. I am an expert and I have never been promoted undeservedly. When I am invited somewhere, it is because of who I am. As far as I know, my candidacy was discussed with the Prime Minister. It is not important who recommended me. And I have never denied that I declined it at first.
 
- Do you feel in place in your position? Are you satisfied with what you have accomplished?
 
- I was satisfied up until the moment when I was going home that night and I was assaulted. I had taken a huge load off my back. The whole of December we worked until 8-9 pm, signing contracts and annexes. Two hours of contract signing each day. Now I have to wear an elbow pad.

17 899 635 BGN


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