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About governance, production, and territorial dimensions of farm competitiveness – the case of Bulgaria

Bachev, Hrabrin (2023): About governance, production, and territorial dimensions of farm competitiveness – the case of Bulgaria.

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The issues related to proper assessments of the competitiveness of farming enterprises in general and of different type and locations has been among the most topical for academicians, agro-business managers, interest groups, administrators, politicians, international organizations, and the public at large. Farm competitiveness has been usually assessed through traditional indicators of technical and accountancy efficiency, the productivity of factors of production, the profitability of activity, the farms’ market position, shares, etc. A systematic approach for defining competitiveness and formulating its pillars, principles, criteria, and indicators has been rarely implemented, and the critical governance aspects have been largely ignored. This paper incorporates a holistic multi-pillar framework and assesses the levels of and correlations between the competitiveness of Bulgarian farms of different juridical types, economic sizes, product specialization, and ecological and geographical locations. For assessing the level of competitiveness of farms, a system of 4 pillars (Economic efficiency, Financial endowment, Adaptability, and Sustainability), 4 criteria for each Pillar, and 17 particular and 5 integral indicators are used. The study has found out that the level of competitiveness of agricultural holdings in the country is at a good level, but there is significant differentiation in the level and factors of competitiveness of holdings with different juridical types, sizes, product specialization, ecological and geographical location. The low adaptive potential and economic efficiency to the greatest extent contribute to lowering the competitiveness of Bulgarian agricultural producers. A large share of farming enterprises has a low level of competitiveness, and if measures are not taken in due time to improve governance and public support, a large part of Bulgarian farms will cease to exist in the near future. The suggested approach for assessing the competitiveness of farms should be improved and applied more widely and periodically. The precision and representativeness of the information used should also be increased by increasing the number of farms surveyed, which requires close cooperation with other interested parties, and improving the system for collecting agro-statistical information in the country and the EU.

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