Factors determining the competitiveness of grain production and opportunities for their digital optimization

G. Aleksiev1*, D. Doncheva2

1Department of Management, Faculty of Economics, Trakia University, 6000 Stara Zagora, Bulgaria
2Department of Economics, Faculty of Economics, Trakia University, 6000 Stara Zagora, Bulgaria

(Manuscript received 25 May 2022; accepted for publication 31 July 2023)

Abstract. Grain production is one of the traditional agricultural sub-sectors in Bulgaria, which has been identified for its comparative advantages. The significant levels of social support provided for these businesses after the accession of Bulgaria to the EU and under the influence of Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) have incited considerable investments in their innovative technological development. Given the significant economic role of this sector in the sectoral development determines the need for studying their competitiveness and analysis of the factors that determine it. The present study investigated the level of competitiveness of Bulgarian grain production during the period 2014-2020 and its determining factors by using the Relative Trade Advantage index in order to identify opportunities for digital optimization. The results showed that Bulgarian grain production is a competitive sector but at the end of the studied period the competitiveness of barley and maize is increasing while the wheat competitiveness is decreasing. Finally, some digital possibilities for increasing the technical efficiency of Bulgarian grain production were revealed.