SOFIA, July 23 (Xinhua) -- The first electronic wholesale market for fresh fruits and vegetables in Bulgaria was officially launched on Thursday with the aim to boost production and consumption of healthy foods.
"This project is a step towards the development of the fruit and vegetable sector," Bulgarian Agricultural Minister Desislava Taneva told a press conference dedicated to the presentation of the e-market, developed by the National Union of Gardeners in Bulgaria (NUGB).
It would shorten the chain from producers to consumers, and ensure the quality and freshness of products, Taneva said.
According to Slavi Trifonov, chairman of NUGB, the speed was the most important goal of the project. The fruits and vegetables would reach the consumer from 24 to 48 hours after been picked, he said.
Mariana Miltenova, secretary of NUGB's board, echoed that until now the supply chain of fruits and vegetables involved three to four intermediaries, thus increasing the cost of production and affecting its quality.
They expected that the project located at www.gradinaria-bg.com would increase the production and consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables in Bulgaria, open new jobs in rural areas, and encourage healthy eating, Miltenova said.
Answering a question by Xinhua, Trifonov said it was difficult to predict the expected sales volume because when trading with fruits and vegetables, it was common to see the product.
However, because of the good conditions provided by the e-market, he did not exclude the possibility that a boom could happen. In any case, the project would make the market more dynamic, he added.
According to the last national Agrarian Report, the total production of vegetables in the Balkan country amounted to 641,000 tons in 2013, or 19 percent more compared to 2012, while 211,116 tons of fruits have been produced in 2013, or 70.7 percent more than in 2012.