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Focus Groups Annual Meeting of the NTG Project

On November 28, the focus groups in the NTG project and the project team discussed at the annual NTG meeting in Krumovgrad the achievements in 2011 and plans for 2012. 

Ideas from all members of the NTG focus groups are valued. It is not always able to make everything happen, but it might happen, Frank Zanderink, project team leader said at the official opening of the meeting. He encouraged the NTG focus groups to share their ideas all over the year and not waiting for the annual meeting.

Hristo Hristov and Stefan Avramov, coordinators wildlife and biodiversity, Mihaela Kircheva, coordinator ecotourism and Vladislav Popov, coordinator organic farming presented 2011 results and the plans for 2012 on all three components.

Several participants raised the question how the NTG project could support the local people in their plans for organic farming and eco-tourism. The Rural Development Measure has almost unlimited opportunities, but it asks for a bank guarantee or initial capital. “The project cannot replace role of state or role of bank. For organic farming what we can do is co-finance the application and the rest of the budget will go to machines and fertilizers”, NTG deputy team leader Darko Znaor explained. For the other components it is the same, Frank Zanderink added. NTG proejct will look seriously into the idea to support projects that need a guarantee to be completed successfully and if it can play a role in this.

Many ideas on 2012 activities and joint initiatives of focus group members have been discussed: events, festivals, enterprises that combine at least two project components like for example: a tourist attraction in addition to organic farming

At the end of the meeting, a new possibility for the region was announced. Rewilding Europe is a possible follow-up for the NTG project. It has already started in five other areas in Europe and the Eastern Rhodopes can become one of the new five approved.

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