The first Census of Agriculture was carried out in 1897 when the Royal Decree No 39 (SG. 93 of 3 May 1897) set the "Rules for the collection of information on agricultural statistics". Subsequent agriculture censuses were held in 1908, 1926, 1934, 1946, 1963, 1993, 2003 and 2010.
In the second half of 2010 the Ministry of Agriculture and Food (MAF) carried out the farm structure survey (FSS) and the survey on agricultural production methods (SAPM) on the entire country’s territory in accordance with the Law on Agricultural Census 2010 in Bulgaria. This was the first census carried out in Bulgaria being a member of the European Union (EU) and the second one, in compliance with the legislation of the EU. The census was conducted using a methodology consistent with the requirements of Regulation (EC) No 1166/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 19 November 2008 on farm structure surveys and the survey on agricultural production methods and repealing Council Regulation (EEC) No 571/88 and Regulation (EC) No 1200/2009 of 30 November 2009 implementing Regulation (EC) No 1166/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council on farm structure surveys and the survey on agricultural production methods, as regards to livestock unit coefficients and definitions of the characteristics. This ensured comparability of the results on the structure of agricultural holdings in Bulgaria and agricultural production methods with those of the EU Member States (MS). The Agricultural Census is the main source of information on the status and trends in agriculture. It has to provide a current economic, social and environmental overview of the agrarian sector needed for the decision making in the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). The census data will be taken as a basis for sampling of the annual production surveys, to determine the framework of the Rural Development Program for the programming period after 2013, to define the field of observation of the Farm Accountancy Data Network (FADN) and to start the creation a statistical farm register.
Kind of Data
Census/enumeration data [cen]
Unit of Analysis
Agricultural activities including crop and livestock production
Agriculture & Rural Development
Food (production, crisis)
Land (policy, resource management)
Community Driven Development
In compliance with the EU Regulations Bulgaria applied the following national threshold:
0.5 ha of utilised agricultural area; or 0.3 ha of arable land; or 0.5 ha of natural meadows; or 0.1 ha of orchard (compact plantation), vineyard, vegetables, hops, tobacco, spices, medical and essential oil crops, flowers, ornamental plants; or 0.05 ha of greenhouses; or 1 cow/ buffalo-cow; or 2 cattle/ buffaloes; 1 female for reproduction (equidae); or 2 working animals (equidae); or 5 pigs; or 1 breeding-sow; or 5 breeding-ewes; or 2 breeding she-goats; or 50 laying hens; or 100 chicken for fattening; or 1 reproductive male animal used for natural mating - bull, stud, boar, etc.
Producers and sponsors
The Ministry of Agriculture and Food
Regional offices of the Ministry
Central Census Commission
All agricultural holdings throughout the country on the list of agricultural holdings prepared by the Agrostatistics Department of the Ministry of Agriculture and Food. The list contained 750 733 agricultural holdings and was based on data from the previous census, agricultural administrative records and the annual updates from twelve major sources.
(b) Complete or Sample Enumeration Methods
There was no sampling as the Census was an enumeration of all agricultural holdings for both the Farm Structure Survey, and the Survey on Agricultural Production Methods.
Dates of Data Collection
Data Collection Mode
Data Collection Notes
The Agricultural Census data was collected via face-to-face interviews, conducted by 2,654 enumerators. The enumerators visited and interviewed all statistical units in the list and new holdings, not included in the initial list and identified with the support of the mayors of the settlements. The information was recorded on printed questionnaires.
EU Regulations require information on holding location and geo-coordinates, legal status, ownership and tenancy, land use and crops grown, irrigation, livestock, organic farming, machinery (mandatory in 2013 FSS), renewable energy installations, other gainful activities, socio-economic circumstances (full and part-time farming), labour force (family, non-family, contractors), agricultural and vocational training of the manager, inclusion in rural development support programmes, soil tillage methods, crop rotation, erosion protection, livestock housing and livestock management, grazing of animals, manure application, manure storage and treatment facilities, maintenance and installation of landscape features.In addition, Bulgaria included more detailed breakdown on land ownership, area with aromatic crops – oil rose, coriander, lavender, spearmint, valeriana; questions on holding’s bookkeeping, mineral fertilizers and plant protection products application on open-field area; availability and types of milking facilities.There were three collection forms. The main statistical questionnaire (Form No.1) was a questionnaire collecting information on farm characteristics. The household-listing questionnaire (Form No.2) was used to determine whether the households in urban areas met the criteria for an agricultural holding. Form No.3 was used for temporary or permanently inactive holdings being part of the farm holdings list or the Farm Register.
(a) Data Entry, Edits and Imputations, Estimation and Tabulation
Data processing, estimation and analysis were carried out on central level. The data file was prepared and sent to Eurostat for final validation. A special computer module was prepared for data entry. Data
entry from the completed questionnaires in the computer module began in mid-September 2010 by operators in the regional offices of the Ministry of Agriculture and Food. Data regarding Rural Development Support was cross-checked with the administrative records of the Paying Agency. In the case of doubt, data from Paying Agency was imputed into the database.
(b) Census Data Quality
The individual and aggregated data control on regional and central level started from mid-September 2010, together with the data entry of the questionnaires into the computer program. The 28 regional offices sent data to Headquarter’s database on a weekly basis. The Agrostatistics Department at the Ministry of Agriculture and Food conducted multiple checks of the logical links within each data record. Obvious erroneous questionnaires with incoherent data were compared with data from administrative sources. In case of significant differences holdings were revisited for follow-up interviews. The data was summarized and analyzed at central level for the 28 districts and the 6 statistical regions. The data from regular crop, livestock, poultry and beekeeping surveys proved to be comparable with the Census data. Some of the differences were attributable to the different survey reference periods. The difference in annual crop estimates was often due to non-harvested area and was normally within the published survey sampling errors.
Estimates of Sampling Error
The primary effort to minimize non-sampling error was placed in the interviewer and supervisor training programs and the instruction and procedures manuals for the field collection operation. Processes were also put in place for correction of the anticipated under-coverage, duplicate records, non-response and no contacts. Measurement errors were mostly detected by control in the computer module or by the additional monitoring of the data at central level. When discovering errors the regional experts and the enumerators contacted the holder for data clarification and data correction.
The preliminary results were published in May 2011 on the website of the Ministry of Agriculture and Food, seven months after the end of the reference period (crop year). Final detailed results were released in October 2012. The census results reflect the state of agriculture in Bulgaria in 2010 and are the basis for decisionmaking by state and local governments, as well as by the European Union and other European
institutions in the implementation of the Common Agricultural Policy in the EU.
Head of Agrostatistics Department
Agriculture and Regional Policy General Directorate
Ministry of Agriculture and Food,
Address: Christo Botev Blvd, 55, Sofia 1040.
Telephone: +359 / 2 / 985-11-532
See also https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/statistics-explained/index.php?title=Statistics_Explained:Privacy_policy
Disclaimer and copyrights
The user of the data acknowledges that the original collector of the data, the authorized distributor of the data, and the relevant funding agency bear no responsibility for use of the data or for interpretations or inferences based upon such uses