State Fund Agriculture

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

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Contracting Directorate
0884 362 285; 0889 502 487;
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Ministry of Agriculture

Interviews - The budget for the Charity Programme increased five times thanks to SFA’s initiative


- Mr. Kapitanov, for a fifth consecutive year the EU will offer supplies to the most deprived citizens under the Charity Programme. What is the programme’s budget?
- For this year’s campaign, the European Commission (EC) allocated a total of 500 million EUR among the 20 participating member states. Bulgaria’s budget for this year amounts to 21 439 346 EUR, which includes funding and 39 150 tons of stored intervention goods.
The most deprived people in our country will be supported with food products worth over 35 million BGN. The programme is financed entirely by the EU and aims to support the neediest people in the Community. I must point out that thanks to the SFA’s initiative Bulgaria’s budget was increased five times. On June 10th 2011, an EC decree allocated only 4 183 873 EUR to Bulgaria, which included 39 144 tons of stored intervention goods from Great Britain and Finland. There is an ongoing public procurement for the transportation of these goods. In January 2012, we declared the need to receive 19 million EUR and, thanks to a change in legislation that allows the provision of financial resources when intervention goods are not available, Bulgaria’s budget was eventually increased to 21 million EUR. This is the biggest budget we have had since the start of the programme. In comparison, the 2011 budget was 11 042 840 EUR. 
- What types of products will be given out this year?

- SFA will give out 13 types of food products this year. There is an ongoing public procurement – using the budget allocated in June 2011 – for the transportation of flour, rice, spaghetti, corn starch, wafers, biscuits and macaroni. We are preparing a new public procurement – with the newly allocated budget – for the transportation of sugar, lentils, beans, sunflower oil, fruit jam, and mashed potato powder. Our goal is to supply people with basic food products that are nourishing and balanced and cover their essential needs. So far, we could only give out grain products but the change in legislation allowed for other different types of products. This will let us give out products that have been requested by people such as lentils, cooking oil, beans and sugar.
- How will the quality of products be guaranteed and who will be in charge of inspecting their safety?

- Every single product delivery from the transporting companies to the storehouses of the Bulgarian Red Cross (BRC) will be strictly supervised by the Bulgarian Food Safety Agency (BFSA). Before each shipment, the BRC will contact the BFSA regional departments and ask for an expert to be present at the storehouse which will take the shipment. The products will be accepted only if the necessary documents are provided and then the BFSA will create a record. Products will not be given out to people unless this record is present. If there is a discrepancy in the documents or the outer appearance of the products, the respective shipment will be placed under interdiction and the products will undergo an analysis. Apart from the BFSA checks, in order to guarantee the quality of products, State Fund Agriculture will perform additional checks on a random basis by taking samples for analysis in independent laboratories at SFA’s expense. I assure you that the products used for the programme are from reliable sources – EU member states – and of guaranteed quality and have long enough expiration dates to be used by people long after they have been distributed.   
- Which people will be eligible to receive products?
- The programme targets the neediest people in the Community. In Bulgaria, the programme will support three separate groups in dealing with the effects of the economic crisis. They are: people who have received state aid for heating expenses during the 2011/2012 heating season; mothers and adoptive mothers who have received state aid for raising children under the age of one; and families of children with disabilities. That is over 269 000 people in Bulgaria. SFA has taken steps to increase the range of eligible people so that an additional 45-50 thousand people can join the programme by the end of 2012. Thus, the program will become the largest charity operation in the whole country, as well as the programme with the biggest number of beneficiaries in SFA.
- How are shipments going to be made?
- The program will again be carried out in partnership with the Bulgarian Red Cross. The transporting companies will be obliged to supply the products to the BRC’s regional storehouses throughout the country. The BRC will later distribute the products to 340 provisional stations where the items will be given out to the eligible people on 2 or 3 tranches. 

- What happens to the products if they are not claimed?
- The products will be given out personally following a list created by the Social Support Agency. If a person misses out a giveaway, he or she can take the products during the next tranche. If there are unclaimed products by the end of the year, they will be distributed to various social institutions: orphanages, nursing homes, mental institutions, hospitals, jails, and others. There are over 800 such institutions in the country. The programme is well received in Bulgaria. Since it supplies a wide range of people with basic food products, the programme has become an instrument for dealing with the effects of the financial crisis. The number of people who could take part in the programme in Bulgaria is over 310 000.
- Will the programme take place in the future?

- SFA has sent the EC a request to participate in 2013 as well, with a proposed budget of 20 million EUR. We have reason to believe that our request will be approved. As to the 2014-2020 programme period, there will be legislation changes and those will show what the future of the programme will be.

17 899 635 BGN

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