Bulgarian legislative framework allows municipalities to provide municipal land for cultivation. This is done as a type of social assistance for disadvantaged households. There is no clear indication of the extent to which this support tool is used by both municipalities and socially disadvantaged families. There are many small, low-productive and isolated municipal farmlands that cannot be cultivated by mechanical tools and are of no interest for large producers. These lands may be made available for the development of personal holdings and for the supply of agricultural product. However, this process is not popular and is not used to his full extent so this type of land remain uncultivated. The distribution of agricultural land as social assistance to landless farmers can be a powerful social tool but also an opportunity for the development of small farms in which non-technical crops are grown in ecological ways. Such a practice would have a strong effect in ensuring the food independence of socially disadvantaged groups, especially in municipalities with agricultural land in Natura 2000 sites. Due to the limitations of the methods and measures in their processing the terrains in the ecological network sometimes become a problem for the owner.
The Public Environmental Center for Sustainable Development (PECSD) will launch an advocacy campaign for the active use of municipal farmland as a tool to support socially disadvantaged households and promote their food independence.
The Association will collect information about the existing positive practices in the municipalities or their absence. Based on the collected data a technical analysis will be carried out and an information package will be prepared for the benefit of the interested parties. There will be an advocacy and information campaign involving municipal administrations and citizens.
The project will be implemented in northeastern Bulgaria, with several municipalities divided in categories: up to 10,000 inhabitants, up to 50,000 and over 50,000 people. Municipalities with agricultural lands in Natura 2000 sites will be selected.
The campaign will provide a mechanism for access to land for socially disadvantaged families. This should ensure their food independence, which includes the sale of surplus produce in local markets.
The advocacy campaign is being implemented with the financial support of the Greengrants Global Fund.