November 18, 2011
A Chinese state company on Thursday (Nov 17) launched an unprecedented farming project to grow 2,000 hectares of forage crops in northwestern Bulgaria, the agriculture ministry said in a statement.
Tianjin State Farms Agribusiness Group Company invested EUR10 million (US$13.5 million) in the project to cultivate corn, alfalfa and sunflower near the northwestern village of Boynitsa, one of Europe's poorest regions.
The forage crops will be exported back to China.
Tianjin Agribusiness plans to pour another EUR20 million (US$27 million) in Bulgaria's farming sector, the ministry said, adding that it was interested in developing cattle farming there.
Company chairman Bai Zhisheng and China's deputy farming minister Gao Hongbin expressed hopes that Bulgaria could later turn into their gateway to Europe's markets.
The two officials also met in Sofia Thursday with Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov, who welcomed the investment as an important step in developing Bulgarian-Chinese economic ties, his office said.