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New Thracian Gold at Agra 2012

The demand for organic food and products in the world is constantly increasing and this provides an unlimited market for Bulgarian products in Germany, Austria, Italy and other EU countries,  Ass. Prof. Vladislav Popov, Director of the Agroecological Centre at the Agricultural University, Plovdiv and coordinator of organic farming in the New Thracian Gold project (NTG) said at the opening of the international agricultural exhibition Agra 2012 in Plovdiv (6-10 March).

It was the third time that NTG participated in Agra. At the  Avalon Foundation and NTG stand in hall N: 3  visitors got information and shared experience with producers from the Eastern Rhodopes. They had the opportunity to taste wine, honey, sesame, tahini, herbs, spelt bread and other products from the region.

This edition of Agra was dominated by the organic agriculture with BioAgra,Trade Exhibition of Organic Farming held for the first time within the framework of the 21st International Agricultural Exhibition AGRA in cooperation with Avalon Foundation and  the Agroecological Centre at the Agricultural University, Plovdiv. For the first time the producers of organic plant and animal production had a considerable big space for their products. Two to three years ago, the organic products had only a few stands, but at Agra 2012 they dominated the fair and the event.

A focus of BioAgra was the conference "Marketing of organic farming" (March 7), which presented  knowledge and experience of leading EU countries and Bulgaria. Evgenyia Mitrova ,Chief of the “Plant-growing” Directorate of the Ministry of the Agriculture and Foods (MAF) said that the schemes of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) for the period of 2014-2020 envisage so-called "green payments". These payments will be an incentive for switching to organic farming. Parts of the subsidies that farmers receive will be linked to environmentally friendly agricultural practices. Organic farming in Bulgaria is developing rapidly and over 4 million acres meet the eco-standards, Mitrova added. A new regulation on organic production is under preparation. The aim of MAF is organic products to become part of the menu of the Bulgarians.

Herman van Wissen, Agricultural Counsellor at the Dutch Embassy pointed out that organic farming is very profitable business. Each year, this sector grows by 10-15% in the European markets.

Ass. Prof. Vladislav Popov said that 85-90% of organic production of Bulgaria is exported. In Western Europe, Bulgarian durum wheat, sesame, rose and lavender oils, herbs, honey and wine from organic grapes are well-known. According to him, it is necessary for the national market to be further developed. In 2008, 408 companies in Bulgaria were involved in the organic production and organic food processing, nowadays this number is about one thousand.

Dr. Darko Znaor, Deputy team leader of New Thracian Gold presented the main aspects of the project, its achievements, the ambitions of the team and the work of Avalon Foundation as well.

Over 50 Dutch companies presented their agricultural technologies, equipment and materials at this year’s edition of the International agricultural exhibition AGRA. On 7 March, they  presented their technological solutions for livestock breeding and horticulture at the seminar “Keep in touch with the Dutch”. In the evening, at a special bio dinner the Dutch companies met their Bulgarian partners, among them NTG and Eastern Rhodopean producers. Products from the region – organic and in a process of certification - were tasted: the wine of Yonko Todorov from Stambolovo, meat of Betty and Nikolay Vassilievi from Gorno Pole, pumpkins of the organic producers of Pelevun, Ivaylovgrad area, etc.


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