Chinese soil in 45 Bulgarian villages

In July 2011, the Tianjin Farm Cultivation Group was incorporated in Bulgaria. In 2014, it purchased 30,000 acres of land in 45 villages in southern Bulgaria (Plovdiv, Haskovo, and Yambol) from the Bulgarian company Omega Agro. The land owned by the Chinese is very rich and important, it is one of the largest areas owned in Bulgaria by foreign companies. According to the Bulgarian legislation, the company is entitled to apply for funding from the European Agricultural Funds. However, at present there is no indication that the Chinese company has received such funding. There is also no indication of any State aid or advantage granted to the Chinese company by the Bulgarian authorities.

By 2014, the Chinese company was investing over € 52 million in agricultural land and development. During a total of 9 years in Bulgaria, the Tianjin Farm Cultivation Group expanded its business to include the processing of agricultural products, trade, and experimental planting. The company is actively involved in the construction of a demonstration park for agriculture, building cooperation with the Plovdiv Agricultural University and others.

Wang Fung Wu is the manager of the Chinese company. The founding act of the Tianjin Farm Cultivation Group of Companies shows that the Chinese company acquires fields, vineyards, and few orchards in 45 lands. 13 of them are in the Yambol district and mainly in Elhovo municipality. In Haskovo, the land acquired by the Chinese company is in 11 villages of the Dimitrovgrad municipality. In Plovdiv the fields are predominantly in Parvomay municipality, as well as in Asenovgrad and Sadovska municipalities, with a total of over 20 lands.

Tianjin Farm Cultivation Group representatives in Bulgaria. Source: farmlandgrab.org

The interest of Chinese investors is related to the cultivation of agricultural products that are exported to China, but previously processed in Bulgaria and exported with added value.

In 2014, 182,000 tons of corn produced in Bulgaria arrived in China, the first time China had imported corn from the country. In 2017, Bulgaria became the first China – Central and Eastern Europe Agricultural Cooperation Demonstration Zone.

Tianjin Farm Cultivation Group built a feed processing plant in Bulgaria and planning for bases of edible oil, mineral water and edible fungi is also under active preparation. A cooperation agreement has been signed with Huami Rice Industry Co., Ltd. to introduce fine millet varieties into Bulgaria on an experimental basis, which is meant to further create a recycling economy for agricultural product processing and extend the group industry, according to the Chinese manager Zheng. The project will cooperate with more than 20 scientific research institutions such as local universities, the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, and Tianjin Academy of Agricultural Sciences to form an agricultural research base in the local area.

Until 2020, the farmland it manages hit more than 7,600 hectares. The company now has 63 local and 10 Chinese employees on job rotation. To date, the Chinese company has invested up €60 million.

 

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