Chapter Eleven

Co-Operatives in Bulgaria

Bulgaria in the summer of 1949 was a country still suffering badly from wartime losses and the unbelievable bad luck of three successive droughts. She was also suffering, as one was to learn later, from very effective sabotage in her industries. In Sofia food was short, there was no appreciable improvement than from my first visit just one year previously. But spirits were high, the crowds that paced the Tsar Liberator boulevard outside my hotel room in the evenings were enormously good-humoured. And people sing in Sofia all day long, from the earliest hours of the morning until late at night. They sing much more than in Hungary – and it must be confessed they sing more expertly in tune and harmony. Mostly they sing partisan songs, but often enough Bulgarian and Russian folk songs too. Children going to school, brigaders off to work an early shift, soldiers marching to their barracks, students going to an art exhibition, a trade union group going to the theatre-always with linked arms and singing like trained choruses.

In summer the air was tinged with the fragrance of flowers from the profusion of rose gardens in the city. The breezes that cooled the city in the evening were charged with the perfume of ripening fruit, from the orchards nestling at the foot of Mt: Vitosha. Sofia is closer to nature, less sophisticated a city than Budapest. The countryside comes right into the main streets; shops are filled with peasants in a dozen different national costumes. There is more horse-drawn traffic, the people are not so well dressed. These things all make it a very different city, but it took me a few days to put my finger on the vital thing that made Sofia in 1949 another world from Budapest of 1949. I missed the thousands of dispossessed aristocrats and landowners, sitting around in the cafes. They virtually don't exist in Sofia. The Turks had been the feudal landowners and when they were chased out by the Russians in 1878, Bulgaria became a nation of small farmers. There were peasants with long shoes curled up at the end sitting in the cafes, women with their plaited hair hanging in a little cloth cover down their back. Small wonder there was a freshness and naturalness about this city, a complete absence of decadence.

In contrast to Hungary, which is composed almost exclusively of endless, rolling plains, Bulgaria is a very mountainous and a very beautiful country. No country in Europe is so rich in national costumes and traditions. Village after village, especially those tucked away in the mountains, have completely different characteristics, though they may be separated only a few miles from each other. Musical instruments, dances, and even folk songs, vary from district to district, probably because the rugged mountains made interchange of customs difficult. The villagers are a friendly, generous, open people with a natural gaiety, which one does not find so often with the Hungarian peasants, whose spirits have probably been dampened over the centuries by the ever-present priests. Priests or pastors, as mentioned earlier, play little part in Bulgarian village life.

One thing that made it possible for the government to command support from the people during the lean years after the war was the remarkable solidarity between peasant and city worker. The histories of previous revolutions all over Eastern and Central Europe is that they failed because of the absence of this solidarity. When the peasant parties rallied around Stamboulisky at the time of the Tsankoff coup d'etat in 1923, the Communists stood aside; in the Hungarian revolution in 1919 Bela Kun failed to win the confidence of the peasants. The latter refused to deliver food, and Kun was forced into excesses to try and drag it from them; the Soviet revolution had a close escape from similar causes, but Lenin fought from the beginning for a worker peasant alliance.

I was born and reared in a farming area in Australia and have experienced in that comparatively enlightened country the suspicion bordering on hatred, felt by the ordinary farmer for the city worker, and the contempt of the worker for the farmers. Capitalism has always been able to drive a wedge between town and country worker. Farmers distrust city workers because they get regular wages, work regular hours, make strikes, while the farmer feels he has to work from dawn to dusk and sell his products for whatever somebody wants to give him. The industrial workers, more advanced politically, know their troubles are due to capitalism. The farmer, himself a small capitalist, does not see that he too suffers from capitalism. He is a ready target for the press which tells him the high prices he pays for consumer goods are due to the workers demanding higher wages.

Town workers usually react by regarding the peasant as a lazy, good-for-nothing, who plants his crop and does nothing while it grows, except to complain about high prices, bad weather and striking workers. From my own experience for a long period as a small farmer, and later as an industrial worker in Australia, I know this feeling and have seen it reflected in every country I have visited. Even in the Far East, where the peasants are in an enormous majority and live little better than animals, it is rare to find workers and peasants really viewing their problems from the same angle and with an understanding that they are basically the same, exploited by the same forces. In Bulgaria they have accomplished a miracle by closing the gap in a few years after the war. It has been done by the volunteer labour brigades, which are better organised there than in any other People's Democracy I have visited.

There are scores of different types of brigades, formed by volunteers from every walk of life. There are technical, medical, skilled and unskilled brigades, volunteer groups from factories, machine shops, hospitals and government offices. Each member is pledged to do at least 60 hours volunteer work during the course of the year. In fact, they do much more than that. I have seen them at work and have marvelled at what they accomplish. Suppose it is a technical brigade of mechanics and smiths. During the week, their leader will have checked in at brigade headquarters and announced that he will have a brigade ready for the week-end. He will be given a target, perhaps a village 60 or 70 miles from Sofia.

Brigade headquarters provide a truck, the village will be warned, and on Saturday afternoon, peasants will have brought every imaginable type of machinery into the market square, from ancient reapers to pots and pans that need mending. The technicians will have brought a portable forge with them, oxy-acetylene torches and plenty of tools. They set to work, with willing helpers from among the peasants and probably the local smithy. Reapers, mowers and ploughs will be set in order, the pots and pans mended. The leader of the brigade will give an informal talk to the peasants on how they can better care for their machinery and he will demonstrate some of the simple things that go wrong and how the peasants themselves can repair them. By the time darkness falls, there is probably still plenty to be done. The peasants will have brought food and wine to the village hall, the brigaders are sure to have brought a musical instrument or two with them. Friendship between town and country worker, based on practical help, is toasted in wine, and the potent slivova or plum brandy. Music soon starts up and town workers and country peasants are presently sending the dust rising to the ceiling as their feet pound the floor in a xora or whatever the local variation of this traditional Bulgarian dance may be. Next day the work continues, either at the same village or the next one set as a target, and on Sunday evening a truck-load of weary but merry technicians, singing at the top of their voices, trundles back into Sofia again. There are veterinary brigades which treat animal diseases and at the same time tell the farmers how to recognise early symptoms, dental brigades that check the whole teeth of the village in one day, unskilled brigades which help with harvest work orweeding. Workers take their wives along and while the menfolk examine pigs or mend ploughs, the wives help the peasant wives with sewing and mending.

It is impossible to over-estimate the effect of all this on Bulgarian village life. New lasting friendships are formed. Next time a peasant whose plough has been mended comes to Sofia, he is sure to look up Georgi or Nikola or whoever did the job and bring him a pound of lard or a dozen eggs and talk about the changes that are coming over the land.

I travelled over much of Bulgaria in my car in the summer of 1949, and in village inns, where peasants gather to drink their slivova out of tiny bottles not larger than one's finger, I often asked about the brigades. The peasants without exception spoke about them with the warmest affection.

"They don't only mend our tools and help us with the harvest, they teach us, too." "I always used to think city I workers were lazy good-for-nothings, but now I see they're workers, too. We work the land, they work in the factories, but we're both workers."

At a little machine shop, belonging to the Bulgarian Machine Co-operative, I spoke with the chief mechanic, Georgi Kuleff, who was also the leader of a technical brigade. The plant employed 35 workers and had been privately owned until 18 months previously, when the workers formed a co-operative. Main work was to repair tractors and cars, but they had also started to manufacture small machines, such as water pumps and portable forges.

Georgi was not much better off financially under the co-operative than before. He used to earn 15 to 16 pounds a month, now he earned about a pound more, but his taxes had been reduced and he had a good canteen meal every day for ninepence. The shop is too small to run its own canteen, so it shares one with two other machine shops.

In February, 1949, the 23 members held a meeting and decided that they should form a technical brigade to do volunteer work. Before that many of them had worked as individuals, cleaning up rubble and repairing cars in their spare time. They decided they could best be used as a technical brigade repairing tractors, harvesters and general agricultural equipment.

"We were allotted at first to a Sofia tractor shop and then enrolled as a mobile brigade for the villages," said Georgi, a swarthy, stocky energetic man, 38 years of age with a cheerful open face that is so characteristic for the Bulgarians. "On Saturday afternoon, after we knock off work, we set out the tools we need for the next day. Sometimes we start right out to work on the Saturday afternoon, but usually we make a whole day of it on the Sunday.

"On Sunday mornings at 7 o'clock we assemble here at the shop and a truck from the Central Co-op. organisation picks us up and off we go to whatever place has been decided beforehand."

"What does your wife say to your taking your Sundays off like that?" I asked.

He grinned. "She didn't like it much at first. But I made a pact that for every Sunday I went out with the brigade, I'd take her to a show during the week. She soon saw that what I was doing was right. She knew that I wasn't running around after other women but doing good work. Sometimes she comes with me, now, but more often in the summer she goes to her father's place to help with harvesting.

"It does your heart good to see how the peasants welcome us with open arms now. They've changed completely. They bring out everything they have to be repaired and feed us. We fix up their things, give them a lecture after it's over. We always take an accordion along and have a little dance and sing-song before we come home. And when I come home I have to sing any new songs I've learned to my five-year-old daughter, who's a great enthusiast for the brigades."

Another young man, Ferdinand Simeonov, spoke up. He was a welder, married, with an eleven-years-old daughter. "I always take my family with me if there's room in the truck," he said. "My missus helps the peasant women with sewing, my daughter looks after the village babes and teaches them songs while I help my comrades here."

I asked for a typical day's work and as the new order has taught people to be meticulously careful about preserving records of the work, they were able to quote exact figures.

The previous Sunday they visited the village of Jivit, about 30 miles from Sofia. They took a team of 18 men, four mechanics, three welders, three tinsmiths, two smiths, one technical foreman, one "cultural" leader, and four unskilled workers. In one day's work they welded 85 different parts of machinery, repaired and replaced spare parts on seven agricultural machines, 25 miscellaneous repairs to ploughs and harrows, and 28 repairs to cream cans, milk buckets. Small stuff? In terms of actual work done, not very dramatic, but for the villagers it was an enormous amount of labour saved, because most of those things would have to be brought into Sofia for repair and many days would be lost trying to find the right shop and somebody who would do the work immediately.

"Don't the local smiths object to your coming and taking work away from them?" I asked.

"Not at all," replied Georgi Kuleff. "On the contrary. We help them too. They have all suffered during the war, machines have been broken, parts are missing. We always try to set the local smithy in order before we leave a village, and if he needs some parts we don't have with us, we make them and send them to him."

"But don't you feel too weary to do your work properly during the week if you work every day and then weekends as well?"

"A change is as good as a rest," Kuleff said. "Of course, if I had to try and persuade the lads to work every Sunday in the shop here they would probably soon get very sour. But we are out in the fresh air, we see new places and meet new people. It isn't like work at all and it is a good education for all of us. Most of us knew little about how peasants live, what their problems are. We only knew them as people always complaining about something or other. Now we see really what a: hard life they lead and it makes us feel good to help them.”

"And what were our Sundays like before? Sleep in till midday, then visit or be visited by some relative you probably didn't want to see. At best take a walk in the park. Now it's exciting for us all. When we get a little more transport we'll all take our families with us. The other thing is that ours is a government of workers and peasants and it’s the job of all of us to make sure that on the ground, too, workers and peasants see themselves as one people, get to know each other and help each other through difficulties."

To check on the other end of the picture I made a trip out to the village of Jivit and stopped at a little saloon in the village where peasants drop in to have a tot of the harsh spirit made from the skins of grapes before lunch. The bar was lined with scores of tiny bottles, used as drinking measures, and half a dozen wrinkled and stubbly-faced peasants in their brown tight-fitting coarse pants and shirt-sleeves, were drinking their tots and discussing the harvest. On the wall was a gaily coloured anti-Marshall Plan cartoon. On one side one could see Greeks erecting gallows from timber marked "Made in U.S.A.", on the other side a horrible looking Turk with a Marshall Aid watering can was sprinkling his garden from which were sprouting bombs, shells and bayonets. (Bulgaria is always painfully conscious of any military preparations being made by her two southern neighbours.)

An old, old man, who turned out to be an 82-year-old former village schoolmaster, and two husky young peasants, who arrived at the same time as I did, completed the group.

The first one I spoke to was Georgi Mitoff, a middle-aged peasant, brown and wiry, who owned eight acres of land. Was he in a co-operative? No, he wasn't. He thought it was maybe a good idea, "but not for our village. We don't have enough implements to go round." What did he know about brigaders?

"They have worked for me, worked well. They welded the broken parts of my plough, sharpened my picks and shovels, and mended my watering can. The first time they came was in August, 1945, about 50 or 60. That was to help with the harvest. .Since then we've had all sorts, technical, veterinary and harvesting brigades. They taught us how to take our machines to pieces and put them together again, how to look after our things, care for our cows and sheep and recognise diseases, how to clean our seeds so's not so many weeds will come up. One special brigade came and told us how we can prepare the soil better and how to change our crops so the land doesn't get tired. They are good people. I had no idea what city workers were like until these people came.

"Now I have made friends with a welder. I visit him whenever I go to Sofia. Last time was about three weeks ago and I brought him a few odds and ends to mend, and took him some butter and eggs. I like to go and just have talks with him anyway. We talk about his work and my crops, about our kids, about how life could be made better for both of us."

"How do you think it could be made better for you, for instance?"

"Well, we need better roads, a village bakery, a bigger school and a cinema. Then it would make my wife happy if we could have a bus-line from the city. As it is, if she wants to go to Sofia, she has to wait until I can drive her in the buggy. Our horses shy so much at traffic it's dangerous for her to drive alone."

Another young man, with golden hairs glistening on his broad, ruddy chest, spoke up. "Life gets better day by day, but slowly. In the old days we had lots of produce and couldn't sell it. Now the selling part is taken care of. The government buys everything we can grow. We've had three drought years in a row which have set us back but this year it's better. One good thing about this government is that it aims to make everyone work and everybody is working now. That's a good thing. These brigaders are fine people. We used to have to waste time going to the city to look for specialists for our troubles. Now they come right here to us."

The old school-teacher, Georgi Michev, who had taught all the farmers in the saloon, was a little more cautious than the others about the changed life: "I don't know which is better," he said, rubbing his gnarled hand over the white stubble of his beard and looking round at his former pupils. "In the old days I thought things were good, but to-day life is good also. My school had four grades and I was the only teacher for 50 pupils. Now there are 110 pupils, seven grades and five teachers."

"What do you think about the brigaders?"

"They're good. I never dreamed such a thing would happen in my lifetime. They come and help repair tools and implements and never charge a thing. They fix our shoes, dentists mend our teeth, doctors give us advice and medicines. Of course, it's a good thing."

In the West it may seem an incredible thing that there is no one in each country village capable of mending buckets, repairing shoes, looking after human and animal ailments, but Bulgaria has been a poor country for centuries. Five hundred years under the Turks was followed by a German monarchy which was as little interested in improving life in the villages as were the Turks. The brigader movement was a makeshift arrangement to cover the years until modern facilities were available in all country centres. In the summer of 1949 there were over 80,000 brigaders in Sofia alone, working in a directed and well-organised way. Apart from the enormous material help they brought the peasants, the most important result, however, was the far-reaching new solidarity they had built up between town and country worker."

The peasants of Jivit insisted that I lunch with them in the saloon as their guest. Under a huge portrait of Georgi Dimitrov, they plied me with bowls of sheeps' milk, black rye bread, soft white cheese and an enormous omelette made from six eggs. They were ignorant peasants; wrinkled old Georgi Michev, who sipped a bowl of milk with us, had taught them barely more than to read and write, but they wanted to know why America and England always talked about war, why they always supported the reactionaries. Especially they wanted to know why a socialist Britain didn't understand the problem of a socialist Bulgaria and help with its reconstruction. They were quite convinced that the Soviet Union wanted peace, that America wanted war and that Britain had no free choice because she had sold herself to America for dollars. Their needs as peasants were simple and modest. They wanted peace to till their land; a few improvements in the village, a quiet development so that their children could go to a school of seven grades, instead of only four, or perhaps even to the city to a high school. For over 500 years they had been waiting for such things and now for the first time they were getting them. They could not even imagine the new, more leisured and cultural life which was being planned for peasants by the leaders in Sofia. Their imagination could not go beyond a bakery and cinema in the village, perhaps a bus-line and better roads. The idea of the co-operatives had not even reached them yet, but even the modest ideas they had for improving life, they knew were endangered in case of war or the restoration of the old reactionary regimes.

For a handful of people, unfortunately a highly articulate handful, the idea of war meant the restoration of their fortune and position by means of Anglo-American bayonets, for the millions it meant another betrayal of hopes. These ideas or something similar must have been running through the mind of one stubbly, brown moustached peasant, Lazar Nikolas, who got awkwardly to his feet before I left and said:

"You see how it is here. We are poor. We don't ever expect to be rich because we're just little people that plough our bit of land and raise a crop which is good or bad according to the weather. Nobody has ever tried to help us before. In the past any change has always been for the worse. Stamboulisky tried to help us, but he didn't last long and after him things were worse again. But these people are doing something. Even when things are bad, we feel it here," and he put his great hairy hand over his heart, "that they sympathise with us and do the best they can do. As for the brigaders, God bless them. They brought us new hope when they helped us bring in the first harvest right in the middle of the fighting. They've helped us ever since and never looked for a penny from us."

For a view of the shape of things to come in Bulgarian village life, one must go to the Georgi Dimitrov co-operative farm near Plodiv, on the Bulgarian central plains. As in Hungary, the Bulgarian government has gone ahead very carefully on the question of setting up co-operatives. The same principle of inducement by example has been used. In some cases where party zealots started to apply pressure to the peasants, they were sharply scolded and in extreme cases were purged from the Communist party.

In the village of Razhevo-Konare, except for thirty families, all the villagers altogether, almost 700 family units are in the Georgi Dimitrov co-operative. It started in 1945 with only about 50 families, some of whom withdrew after the first year. When the results of the first two years were seen, then the whole village started to come in including those who had left. By the summer of 1949 every family except the thirty mentioned above were members. The leader of the co-operative explained: "Of course, now that the pioneers have done all the work, completed the buildings, laid down irrigation, started a creche they want to come in, too. But these thirty families derided us from the beginning, tried to stop others from joining, did their best to get their friends to take their land out again once they had joined. Now they plead to be allowed in. We'll let them in in the end, but meanwhile we're punishing them a little."

The "Georgi Dimitrov" is almost a completely autonomous economic unit. The whole village, including brick-makers, carpenters, smiths, mechanics, saddlers and tailors are members. (It was five times the size of Jivit and comparatively well served with facilities.) Altogether the unit owns about 6,000 acres, much of which was considered unusable land, until the co-operative members got to work and built an irrigation system.

Most of the artisans were not at their normal work the day I arrived, because it was mid-summer and all hands were needed to help get the harvest in. The smithies, of course, were still on, the job, taking care of breakdowns, repairing cart wheels, shoeing horses. A couple of rather delicate men, too frail to help with the harvest, were french-polishing some furniture, a fine new walnut bed being prepared for one couple who were to marry as soon as the harvest was in. The co-operative had its own furniture shop and needless to say built all its own houses and other buildings – all in brick from bricks made on the farm.

At the very end of the long low building which housed the artisans, was the creche, with two white-gowned figures managing a dozen or so fat babes, from a few weeks up to two or three years of age. Most of them were sunning themselves in a little railed off yard. They had no need of rattles or comforters to keep themselves amused. A whole wondrous kaleidoscope world moved past right in front of their eyes. A pair of horses being led past the smith, a load of hay lumbering to the barns, a flock of brown and black sheep being taken to water. Magnificent entertainment for babies. In the old days, in harvest time, they would have been left at home in the care of brother or sisters perhaps a year or two older, or would have been taken to the fields and left at the mercy of sun and flies from the time the sun peeped over the horizon until long after it had disappeared. Now, when they felt sleepy, there were neat little cots inside a cool, gaily decorated room for them to rest in.

My guide, the Domikin or supervisor, Vidul Chernov, a massive, tireless man of the co-operative, escorted me further. We passed a batch of fine, brown, strapping young women, sickles in hand, walking back towards the sheds. "They're the mothers of the babes you have just seen," Vidul explained. "As far as possible, nursing mothers are given work close handy to the creche so they can step back every three hours and feed the little ones. Of course, they get paid on the same basis as everyone else. We usually see they get some lighter sort of work than the others. This lot are cutting green grass now for cow feed instead of reaping wheat like the others."

We walked for several miles over the huge farm that day. On the borders, where the co-operative lands and private farms met, one could understand why the remaining thirty families were clamouring to come into the co-operative. There was no comparison in the two crops of maize, growing a few feet away from each other. One had had preference in fertiliser, but also the benefit of the communal work of the 700 families who each winter had toiled away at extending an irrigation system, installed for the first time in the district by the co-operative. Broad, green stalks of maize on the co-operative farm waved their healthy leaves at miserable, spindly things fighting valiantly for life in parched earth, dry and hard as concrete.

The total labour power on the farm was split up into groups of about 200, and these in turn into work brigades of about 15 each. The brigades always worked together whether at weeding, sowing or reaping.

The "Domikin" explained that working in groups came quite naturally to the peasants, as it was traditional at harvest time for peasants to reap their crops in common. "Neighbours always pooled their man and woman-power and harvested one after the other all the fields belonging to their particular group. The whole group was fed by whichever peasant's crop was being harvested at the time. The custom was for the oldest in the party to set the pace; the peasants whose crops was being cut would call the stops for a breather or for meals, and the oldest of the others would say when it was time to start again.

"Of course, now the brigades challenge each other in work contests, and it's a matter of pride that they don't lag behind each other. Competition is on a very good-natured basis."

The farm was still very poor in machinery compared to its modern American or Australian counterpart. Rows of girls were swinging sickles into a wall of crisp golden wheat, older women were binding it into sheaves and stacking them into little stooks to dry. Eventually these would be carted away to be fed into threshers where the ears would be separated from the straw and eventually fed by hand into bags. Even this was an improvement over many of the farms, where the grain is laid in a hollow and oxen or donkeys chased round and round, to trample on the straw and shake out the precious grains. A far cry from the modern header which in one operation strips the grain from the straw as it stands in the fields, cleans it and bags it – all done by machine which one man can drive. In time the Georgi Dimitrov farm will certainly have such machines, meanwhile members do their best with what they have. Six tractors on the farm took care of the heaviest work.

We came to a large field in which a group of people were busy, seemingly building pyramids. "They're our gypsy brickmakers," explained Vidul, and he took me over to introduce me to a flashing black-eyed very good-looking gypsy girl, Yelinda, who, at 22 years, was chief of all the brickmakers.

"Do I like being in a co-operative?" She repeated my question. "This is a new life, something we never dreamed of before. We are accepted as equal for the first time in our lives or in our parents' memories. We get paid the same rate as everybody else, we are members and can take part in meetings, our votes count like anybody else's votes. Before we begged in the streets, cleaned people's shoes. Everybody despised us and we despised ourselves. Nobody was glad to see us, they said we didn't want to work, we were lazy, that we stole. Now they see that we can do if they give us a chance."

In the background, gypsy men and women were furiously digging clay, moistening it with water drawn from a nearby stream, puddling the oozing paste into brick moulds. All around stood heaps of bricks, taken out of their moulds and left to dry in the sun. Yelinda, when we came upon her, was supervising the building of a huge kiln. Bricks were being laid row upon row just as if for the building of a house, but instead of mortar, flaky coal laid between the rows. When the pyramid was built, the kiln would be fired, and after a few days, the bricks, red and hard, would be ready for building into some new shed for the co-operative or a new house for one of the members.

We passed good-looking herds of black buffalo cattle and flocks of sheep, all the property of the farm, and afterwards we drove around the village to inspect the fine new co-operative hall which was being built to serve as meeting hall, theatre and cinema.

"But no building goes on in summer-time unless it's absolutely essential," Vidul said. "We're far too busy with crops. In winter, where there's nothing else to do we build and extend our irrigation system. We have it all planned out just how much we'll do each year."

The co-op. pays its members out on the 60-30-10 system mentioned earlier. Sixty per cent. in work-hours, 30 per cent. in rent, according to how much land each peasant contributed, 10 per cent. into a fund to take care of the sick, aged and other unemployables.

Every member of the co-operative, whether he or she is weeding cabbages, milking cows, making bricks or raising pigs, has a "norm," based on the area of cabbages weeded, numbers of cows milked, bricks made, or pigs raised over a certain period. The "norm" is calculated in terms of working days and the more it is exceeded the greater the number of working days credited to one's account, and, the greater the dividend paid out at the end of the season. Many of the farmers in the "Georgi Dimitrov" co-operative were paid up to five hundred working days for the previous year.

It is a very carefully calculated and complicated system, difficult certainly for a non-farmer to follow. I discovered, for instance, that a pig reared to the age of three months counts as fourteen days to a swine-herd, which it seemed to me would make a swine-herd a prosperous man if he could manage to rear four or five litters in a year.

But what if the sows only produced tiny litters. Vidul shrugged his shoulders. "There's always a certain gamble in farming. His job is to look carefully after those that come into the world, Nature will balance up the size of the litters."

At the end of the season, after working days are calculated and checked, the farmers are paid off in grain, fats, sugar, wine, etc., plus a goodly sum in cash, which averaged in the 1948-49 season about ten shillings per day for each person over sixteen years of age, in the co-operative, far above anything any but the richest members had ever earned as private farmers.

By the end of 1953, it is planned to have about two-thirds of all farming in Bulgaria organised on the lines of the "Georgi Dimitrov" co-operative.

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