June, 2023

Rose harvests in Bulgaria were delayed by 10 days this year due to unseasonal rainfall and colder than average temperatures. This delay has caused a handful of complications, including slower collection times, leading to certain rose fields reaching maturation before they can be properly harvested. Some growers have reported that harvests are only occurring every other day, whereas others have only started their crop yesterday and are running very behind schedule.

Thankfully the overall crop health is looking much better than 2022, and the number of roses that are reaching full maturation is already much higher than previous seasons. Prices for rose oil increased in 2022 due to poor weather conditions, but this event also encouraged growers to pay special attention to their rose fields (weeding, pruning, fertilizing, etc.). This additional effort has had an extremely positive impact on Bulgaria’s rose production this year.

Once fully matured, a rose flower only has 24 hours to be harvested by field pickers. Any longer and the rose will begin to lose its high concentration of essential oils.

Energy costs at our facility are also much lower when compared to last year, though they still remain about 2x higher than the 2021 season.

Despite all of these improvements, Bulgarian Rose Oil production still hangs in a delicate balance this year, and will require constant monitoring. If the current level of rainfall ceases and Bulgaria is faced with a sudden rise in temperature, it could cause a large portion of the region’s roses to bloom at once. Without sufficient pickers to collect the flowers, this could cause a rapid decline in material overnight as mature roses sit unharvested for longer than 24 hours.

The current price of rose oil plays a prominent role in farmers’ decisions for their next crop, as well as the number of pickers they will have available to harvest material.

As of today, the number of pickers available during harvest season remains the most important factor in Bulgarian Rose Oil production by far. In the current market, many rose fields are short on pickers, which creates another source of production delays.

Bulgaria is also experiencing record inflation in 2023, and rose farmers are starting to see competition in rival industries such as cherry farming and industrial arms manufacturing. The attractiveness of rose-picking is heavily dependent on the current price of rose oil and the complex dynamics subsequently involved. The nation is currently looking to find the right balance between a fair price for pickers and growers, and the overall market price.

The team at Berjé Trakia, ready for the upcoming rose season!

As far as production goes, all lights are green at Berjé Trakia. Our team in Bulgaria, together with our close network of 137 growers, is extremely well-experienced in rose oil production and continues to be transparent when it comes to pricing and the long term promotion of sustainable supply.

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Written By
Sean Farley