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Over the last 8 years, the transformation process with structural changes and the worsening of production technology in the Bulgarian dairy sector has led to a dramatic reduction of milk quality in Bulgaria. The improvement of the raw milk quality and the harmonisation of Bulgarian standards with EU milk quality standards is therefore on of the major conditions for the prospective integration of Bulgarian into the EU as well as for increasing the competitiveness of the Bulgarian dairy sector. This discussion paper presents the results of an in-depth analysis of the Bulgarian agriculture with special emphasis on milk production. The investigation aims to identify the basic problems of Bulgarian milk production, the main differences between the Bulgarian and the EU quality regulations for raw milk, and future necessary alterations in Bulgarian milk production farms with regard to the quality requirements of the European Union. The analysis'’ results show the causes for the development of the Bulgarian dairy sector in the transitional period. The comparison of the quality standards for raw milk emphasis the urgent need to adjust the Bulgarian system, especially regarding the number of control parameters and quality grades, the level of requirements for the hygienic quality of raw milk and the lack of a functioning pricing system based on the classification of raw milk. With respect to the improvement of raw milk quality and thus of economic results of Bulgarian dairy farms, the most urgent improvements are needed in the area of forage production, hygienic and housing conditions of animals as well as milking and feeding technology.


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