A Multicriteria Assessment of the Sustainability of Governing Structures in Bulgarian Agriculture



Hrabrin Bachev


Bachev H. 2017. A Multicriteria Assessment of the Sustainability of Governing Structures in Bulgarian Agriculture. Eastern European Business and Economics Journal 3(3): 194-222.


Full text



The issue of assessment of absolute and comparative sustainability of major governing structures in agriculture is very topical, both in academic and practical (policy and business) sense. Despite this, there are practically no assessments of the sustainability level of diverse governing structures (like unregistered holding, agri-firms, cooperatives etc.) in Bulgarian agriculture during the implementation  of the European Union Common Agricultural Policy. This article applies a holistic framework and assesses the absolute and comparative sustainability of Bulgarian farming enterprises of different juridical type. Initially a new governance aspect (pillar) of farm sustainability is justified and the method of the study is presented. After that, integral, governance, economic, social, and environmental sustainability of the farms of different juridical type is assessed. Next, the structure of farms with different sustainability levels is analyzed. Finally, directions for further research and practices in sustainability assessment are suggested.



farm sustainability, governance, economic, social, ecological aspects, Bulgaria


JEL classification:

D23, D24, Q12, Q13, Q18






Andreoli, M., & Tellarini, V. (2000). Farm sustainability evaluation: methodology and practice. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment, 77(1–2),  43–52.
Bachev, H. (2004). Efficiency of Agrarian Organizations. Farm Management and Rural Planning, 5, 135-150.
Bachev, H. (2005). Assessment of Sustainability of Bulgarian Farms, Proceedings, XIth Congress of the European Association of Agricultural Economists, Copenhagen.
Bachev, H. (2010). Governance of Agrarian Sustainability, New York: Nova Science Publishers.
Bachev, H. (2013). Risk Management in Agri-food Sector, Contemporary Economics, 7 (1), 45-62.
Bachev, H. (2016). A Framework for Assessing Sustainability of Farming Enterprises, Journal of Applied Economic Sciences, 9 (1), 24-43.
Bachev, H. (2016). Sustainaility of Farming Enterprise – Understanding, Governance, Evaluation. ЕКОНОМІКА, 2 (179), 6-15.
Bashev, H. (2016). The Sustainability of Farms, Economics, 1, 20-53.
Bachev, H., Ivanov, B., Toteva, D., & Sokolova, E. (2016). Agrarian Sustainability and its Governance – Understanding, Evaluation, Improvement. Journal of Environmental Management and Tourism, 7(4), 639-663.
Bastianoni, S, Marchettini, N., Panzieri, M., & Tiezzi, E. (2001). Sustainability assessment of a farm in the Chianti area (Italy). - Journal of Cleaner Production, 9 (4), 365–373.
Brklacich, M., Bryant, C., & Smith, B. (1991). Review and appraisal of concept of sustainable food production systems. Environmental Management, 15(1), 1-14.
Edwards, C., Lal, R., Madden, P., Miller, R., & House, G. (eds.). (1990). Sustainable Agricultural Systems. Iowa: Soil and Water Conservation Society.
EC (2001). A Framework for Indicators for the Economic and Social Dimensions of Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development. European Commission.
FAO (2013). SAFA. Sustainability Assessment of Food and Agriculture systems indicators. Food and Agriculture Organization.
Fuentes, M. (2004). Farms Management Indicators Related to the Policy Dimension in the European Union. OECD Expert Meeting on Farm Management Indicators and the Environment, 8-12 March 2004, New Zealand
Häni, F., Pintér, L., & Herren, H. (2006). Sustainable Agriculture. From Common Principles to Common Practice. Proceedings of the First Symposium of the International Forum on Assessing Sustainability in Agriculture (INFASA). Bern.
Hansen, J. (1996). Is Agricultural Sustainability a Useful Concept. Agricultural Systems, 50, 117-143.
Hayati, D., Ranjbar, Z., & Karami, E. (2010). Measuring Agricultural Sustainability. In Lichtfouse, E. (ed.), Biodiversity, Biofuels, Agroforestry and Conservation Agriculture. Dordrecht: Springer Netherlands.
Lewandowski, I., Härdtlein, M., & Kaltschmitt, M. (1999). Sustainable crop production. Definition and methodological approach for assessing and implementing sustainability. Crop Science, 39, 184-193.
Lopez-Ridauira, S., Masera, O., & Astier, M. (2002). Evaluating the sustainability of complex socio-environmental systems. The MESMIS framework. Ecological Indicators, 2, 135-148.
Mirovitskaya, N., & Ascher, W. (eds.) (2001). Guide to Sustainable Development and Environmental Policy. London: Duke University Press.
OECD (2001). Environmental indicators for agriculture. Methods and Results(Vol. 3). Paris: OECD.
Raman, S. (2006). Agricultural Sustainability. Principles, Processes and Prospect. New York: The Haworth Press Inc.
Rigby, D., Woodhouse, P.,, Young, T., Burton, M. (2001). Constructing a farm level indicator of sustainable agricultural practice. Ecological Economics, 39 (3), 463–478.
Sauvenier X., Valekx, J., Van Cauwenbergh, N., Wauters, E., Bachev, H., Biala, K., Bielders, C., Brouckaert, V., Garcia Cidad, V., Goyens, S., Hermy, M., Mathijs, E., Muys, B., Vanclooster, M., & Peeters, A. (2005). Framework for Assessing Sustainability Levels in Belgian Agricultural Systems (SAFE). Brussels: Belgium Science Policy.
Van Loon, G., Patil, S., & Hugar, L. (2005). Agricultural Sustainability. Strategies for Assessment. London: SAGE Publications.
UN (2015). Transforming our world - the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. United Nations Resolution A/RES/70/1 of 25 September 2015.