June 11, 2018
village of Tarnichene, Bulgaria

We are glad to bring to your attention our annual rose crop report, which is crafted in line with the way we experienced and observed this year’s harvest season in Bulgaria and the related objective factors.

We just went through quite an unusual rose harvest with regards to our experience since the early 1990s. What were the main characteristics of the harvest season? This year's rose campaign was very short, significantly shorter than a regular harvest year. Due to the weather conditions, the rose flowers in all regions in the valley blossomed rapidly and simultaneously. This was quite an unusual phenomenon which placed the distilleries under serious pressure. At one point, during the peak, some of them even refused to accept flowers from non- contracted farmers, others set daily limits on flower deliveries.

Field yields were lower in comparison to 2017. Nonetheless, the total processed volumes of rose flowers were similar due to the increase in the total area of the rose fields (more than 25% for the past 2 years). The increase in planted area basically compensated for the lower field yields.

Labor is the most difficult part of the job of the rose producer. All producers face problems with securing the workforce, which consists of Bulgarian gypsy minority people. The organization of the workers is very hard – they get very easily distracted by other crops such as cherries and mushrooms.  This year the rapid simultaneous blossoming in all regions of the valley resulted in the shortage of pickers. In such a situation the producers must go out of their way to secure people through the provision of various bonuses and perks, which ultimately results in increased labor costs. The labor cost increase came as a direct result of the intensity of the harvest and the general lack of qualified workforce, which has been a continuous problem with increasing importance over the years. Moreover, as in previous years Bulgarian administration has done nothing to resolve at least some of the many legislative problems associated with our production and industry.

During the 2018 rose crop very similar volumes of rose flowers were processed by the distilleries in 2-3 weeks time while in a normal harvest this period stretches to 4-6 weeks. In general, the 2018 rose harvest will be remembered with the extra intensive, but short, production period when all the distilleries were piled up with incoming flowers from regular, long-term suppliers, and were processing to the maximum of their capacities. In a regular year, this overload in flower supply usually happens for only 2-3 days during the peak of blossoming and is manageable while this year this phenomenon continued for long time, leading to worse production yields.

After 2016 rose crop, when the price of rose flowers and ultimately rose essential oil peaked, the expected and inevitable downward price trend followed. This downward trend continues in 2018 rose harvest. Back in 2016 we noticed the signals from many of our traditional clients that the prices must decrease in order for the industry not to collapse. At the same time it is very important for the balance in the entire supply chain to be preserved and sustained. Everyone in the line of supply and production – from the picker, through the farmer and to the producer must receive a fair return on their work, a fair payment. Only thorugh satisfying everyone’s needs for fair pay, can the system continue functioning.

The situation in Organic rose is quite different. In contrast to conventional fields, which are increasing, the organic rose fields are decreasing by the year. For the past 2 years the total planted area with certified organic roses in Bulgaria has decreased by approx. 15%. Farmers are reluctant to grow organic roses because they are harder to maintain with difficult to find and more expensive labor combined with much lower yields due to pests and the restriction of chemical preparations. Another important factor which rebuffs new farmers is that there is no new EU funding for organic farming, no subsidies.

We, at Enio Bonchev, invest enormous energy and resources to guarantee the quality of our organic production by maintaining our own company organic fields, which are situated in a protected area, surrounded by mountains and forests as well as carefully select trusted contracted farmers, whose fields are under our strict supervision.

As a result of the above mentioned difficulties, the production cost for growing truly organic roses and producing genuine Organic Rose oil and water is high and the prices will remain stable with no expectations of drastic changes.

Attention on Quality!!! Despite the fact that the international fragrance community is now more alert as to the adulteration of rose oil, there is still a significant production of adulterated “rose oil" in Bulgaria. This has become a recurring issue throughout the years. The continued presence of adulterated rose oil, which is sold as a pure and natural product without the PGI certification and specially recognized mark is yet another factor in each rose harvest. Our company has strict control in all steps of the production process, starting from receipt of rose flowers and ending with the packaging of the final product. We perform daily quality analyses and precisely follow the technological process in order to guarantee our premium quality. We strongly advise that everyone verify the quality of all offered Rose oils not only through the standard GC-MS analysis but also through additional tests for proving authenticity and origin.

In conclusion, we would like to say that our 2 main goals for the 2018 rose harvest— to secure the reserved quantity for our regular clients and to keep in line with our high standards of quality— are achieved. We are glad to announce this as our tough accomplishment this year.

Visit us in July to read the Enio Bonchev 2018 Lavender Crop Report!

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