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Support to Strengthen the Organic Retail Sector in South-East Europe

The market for organic products in Europe is generally expanding and its annual growth is between 10 - 15%.  Therefore, the issue of educating managers and shop assistants  is gaining more and more importance. Within the framework of The project E(co)-Qualify this need is answered, the 30th issue of EkoConnect, information letter for organic agriculture of Eastern Europe writes.

Nine partners are working together to adapt and transfer the existing knowledge about training in organic food retail from Western Europe to Bulgaria, Greece, Romania and Turkey. This is already the third phase of the project E(co)-Qualify. In the first two phases, 20 partners from ten countries developed a comprehensive Quality Assurance System (QAS) for continuing education and further training in organic retail in Europe. In the third project phase, E(co)-Qualify III, the new system is being transferred into countries that have not benefited from the first two phases of “E(co)-Qualify”.

The whole project is being funded by European Union Lifelong Learning Programme “Leonardo da Vinci”. The project coordinator and contractor is the University of Thessaly in Greece. Two know-how providers (partners of the initial projects), presenting their experience, views and outcomes are the Organic Retailers Association (ORA) from Vienna, Austria and the Institute Equalita fromCologne, Germany. All together, nine partners from six countries are involved in the project, including three education and training providers.

 E(co)-Qualify III started in October 2010 and is expected to end in October 2012.

Which the practical benefits are expected? Training and professional education institutions in Bulgaria, Greece, Romania and Turkey will get to know QAS and implement it in their daily training and education practices, therefore passing on the knowledge about marketing of organic products directly to the organic retail sector. Besides that, the whole project “E(co)-Qualify” provides a platform for an e-learning system for training of owners, managers and employees in the organic food trade, which will be turned into a comprehensive distance learning system in the near future.

Here you can see more information about the topic and read the complete 30th issue of the EkoConnect newsletter

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