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One In Four Adults In Bulgaria Owns Farmland, One Third Leaves It Uncultivated

One quarter of adults in Bulgaria own farmland, but about one third do not use it, a BBSS Gallup International found in a nationally representative opinion poll conducted among 1 010 adults in 115 Bulgarian settlements in July 2007.

The results of the poll were disclosed in "24 Chassa" daily on August 8.

The average amount of land owned is 1 hectare.

Half of the land owners reside in rural areas, and the other half live mainly in small towns or regional capitals.
One in ten landowners resides in Sofia.

Rural residents make up about 30 per cent of Bulgaria's total population, according to Bulgarian news agency BTA.

Three quarters of those who own farmland are over 50 years of age. Two in three are pensioners or unemployed, and one tenth are self-employed.

One in two of the farm-landowners lease their property for rent in cash or in kind, and one in four farms it either personally or with the help of family members.

Less than 10 per cent of farmland owners are interested and willing to register for EU farm subsidies.

In rural areas, most landowners are over the age of 60, and about 24 per cent do not use their property. Urban residents, aged 40 to 50 and working in small business and the public sector, are more active in cultivating their land as an second source of income.

Just 2 per cent of the Roma own farm land, far less than the rest of the ethnic groups.

In terms of plans for the future, the largest segment of those polled, 31 per cent, plan to lease their land to earn extra income, 19 per cent will farm it, 17 per cent will transfer it to their heirs, 14 per cent will do nothing, and 11 per cent are undecided.

About 8 per cent are planning to sell their property. This segment mostly resides in Sofia.