The Fruit Growing Institute is a successor of the Fruit Growing Experimental Station which was founded in the beginning of 1950 in Plovdiv with 50 ha agricultural land in Plovdiv's suburb “Ostromila” (Governmental Decree № 4 of 28 December 1949 with regard to the measures for improvement of fruit growing). Director of the station is Yordan Ivanov and the first research scientists are Vasil Vasilev and Veselin Todorov.

In 1952, the Fruit Growing Experimental Station is transformed into a Fruit Growing Research Institute (Governmental Decree № 715 of 28 August 1952). The number of the researchers is increased and the experimental land grows up to 120 ha.

In the period 1950-1962, the first experiments on apple and strawberry agrotechnics are set up and carried out; cultivar collections are established and fruit cultivars are explored, which resulted in publishing of the capital work “Bulgarian Pomology” Vol. 1 (1958) and Vol. 2 (1960). In 1957-1959 а team of scientists and specialists from all over the country and with the participation of nine researchers from the FGRI – Plovdiv determine on a sound scientific basis the most suitable regions for growing of fruit crops in Bulgaria. This work is published in 1960 under the auspices of the Department of Agricultural Sciences at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences.

During the same period, expeditionary investigations are undertaken in some regions of the country for the sake of outlining the prospects for industrial growing of the basic fruit crops; experiments for vegetative propagation of the walnut crop are started and the first laboratories of chemistry, agrochemistry and plant protection are organized. The number of the researchers reaches 12, the assistant personnel of agronomists, technicians, laboratory assistants etc. grows in number, too. In this period, the FGRI-Plovdiv is a unit of the Central Fruit Growing Institute near Kostinbrod, Sofia District.

The Institute makes significant progress in its development after the foundation of the Academy of Agricultural Sciences in Bulgaria in 1962 and the related structural and organizational changes. The Institute is given statute of the main scientific center of fruit growing and national coordinator of the research in this area. Thus, the Institute acquires the necessary land and funds for the construction of a new administrative building, an experimental fruit-storage house, an experimental workshop for agricultural machinery, many laboratories including for fruit processing, radioisotope-aided studies, agrochemistry, and entomology, as well as for various agricultural facilities. Modern laboratory equipment and research instrumentation is supplied, too. The opportunities for raising the qualification of the scientific personnel increase consisting of long- and short-term fellowships, mainly in the USSR, the German Democratic Republic, the USA, France, Poland, Italy, Czechoslovakia etc. For the Institute, the period of the 70s and the 80s is characterized by an ascending scientific development, which results in a two-stage intensification of fruit growing in Bulgaria and in increasing of fruit production up to 1.5-2.0 million tons per year.

The research in the field of biotechnology begins with the clonal micro-propagation, which is brought to practice with the completion of the laboratory complex for production of virus-free planting material.

After this period of progress and remarkable scientific and technological accomplishments, the Fruit Growing Institute – Plovdiv is keen to keep and further develop its scientific potential and its infrastructure in the difficult for the Bulgarian science period of transition to the free market economy.

Recently, the FGI establishes a large network of contacts al over the world. Our scientists are involved in an increasing number of international projects and activities. In 2001 and 2007 the Institute organized and hosted symposiums under the auspices of the ISHS.

Yordan Ivanov 1950-1951

Vasil Vasilev 1952-1957
Petko Marinov 1958-1960
Angel Angelov 1961-1963
Velko Velkov 1964-1972
Luben Dzhilyanov 1973-1974
Velyo Belyakov 1975-1992
Nikola Maximov 1993-1994
Dimitar Dimitrov 1995-1999
Vasilyi Dzhuvinov 2000-2004
Argir Zhivondov  2004-2012
Stefan Gandev since 2012