2019 ROSE CROP REPORT

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2019 ROSE CROP REPORT

by Enio Bonchev

June 25, 2019
village of Tarnicheni, Bulgaria

We would like to share with you our experiences and observations on this year’s rose harvest season in Bulgaria and at our fields and distilleries.

Over the course of the last several years and, if you look back in our old crop reports, you will see a recurring observation. We start off by saying that we just went through an unusual harvest compared to the 1990s. It is time to acknowledge that nowadays the unusual is the new norm with respect to the changing climate and weather conditions. So what about 2019 rose season?

This year's rose campaign was slightly shorter and started more than 10 days later than usual. This was due to the low temperatures and rain in the beginning of May. It kept on raining throughout May and although temperatures rose in the last days of the month, we did not receive as much sunlight as we had hoped for. The late start of harvest and cold morning temperatures combined with little sun led to record low production yields everywhere in Bulgaria. Our estimation is for approx. 20% to 25% lower factory yields.

Field yields were different in the various regions of the valley. Some were more affected by the weather (frost, high humidity - rust, hail) and experienced lower yields. However, in general, supply of rose flowers was enough to meet demand as the lower field yields were compensated by quantities coming from the increased planted areas. Many of the farmers, who increased their plantations in recent years, were now facing difficulties organizing the picking process. Uncertainty and expectations for approx. 10% to 15% lower prices of their rose flowers forced some of them to minimize their costs for picking and not take all the necessary steps and additional financial efforts to secure enough field workers. This led to problems with timely rose picking and additionally contributed for the record low factory yields.

A few words about Organic. We have come to the conclusion that organic rose is not suitable for industrial production as it is very difficult to grow and maintain. Field yields are much more susceptible to the weather conditions, pests and various diseases. We spend a lot of time and invest our energy and resources to guarantee the quality of our organic production by carefully maintaining our own company organic fields. We benefit from the landscape in which they are situated — a protected area, surrounded by mountains and forests, as well as carefully select trusted organic farmers, whose field work we place under strict supervision. As a result, however, the production cost for growing genuine organic roses and obtaining true Organic Rose oil and water is high and the prices of organic rose remain stable.

Enio Bonchev has always had a vision about nurturing relationships. It is very important to achieve and sustain a balance in the entire supply chain. Everyone down the line must receive a fair return on their effort – from the picker, through the farmer and producer to the end consumer. We have a responsibility to all suppliers we have been working with over the years and moral obligation to pay a fair market price. With over 150 hectares of own land we are well familiar with all the challenges every Bulgarian rose farmer faces today. We are there to support and meet his various needs as well as help him through securing advance payments throughout the year, making prompt payments in full immediately after end of crop, providing agricultural support, etc. We believe that working in this manner over time will create a sense of community in our farmers and they will feel part of the Enio Bonchev family. We search for the balance in order to see our farmers happy and motivated to continue taking proper care of their rose fields while ensuring a fair pricing policy to our regular customers who have been supporting us in difficult times. Only through satisfying everyone’s fair needs can the balance be preserved.

Despite the unusual weather conditions quality of our 2019 rose oils and floral waters is excellent, combining a very nice and rich aroma with balanced components’ ratio. Our 2019 production was successfully audited and we were granted the next PGI (Protected Geographical Indication) "Bulgarian Rose oil” certificate for genuine quality and origin. We are happy to see other companies following our footsteps in this direction.

At last, but not least, we proudly report to have achieved our main objectives - securing the needed quantity for our regular clients while keeping highest possible quality standards.

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