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NTG Agricultural Cooperation in the Eastern Rhodopes – an Example to Follow

More than 200 people informed and trained in organic crop and livestock farming. Seventeen farmers and processors financially supported by the project through a scheme that covers 50% of their organic certification costs for 2011. Two demonstration organic farms established and operating as well as two Open days of organic farming executed in 2010 and 2011. Farmers trained and learn to help each other with know-how, knowledge of cooperating by using common machinery, animal forage, share knowledge, experience, market channels, etc.

These are only part of the achievements of New Thracian Gold made by the organic farming component of the project within the three years in the area of the Eastern Rhodopes (ER). The development of the organic agriculture and the achieved cooperation between organic and in conversion producers in the ER in the NTG network are presented in a new NTG brochure (in Bulgarian and in English). The brochure is entitled ‘Achieving effective cooperation among rural population in Eastern Rhodopesproblems and opportunities for integrated regional resource-based development(within framework of the New Thracian Gold project 2009-2014) and is written by Dr. Vladislav Popov, NTG coordinator on organic farming and manager of Avalon – branch Bulgaria.

In 2009, "The New Thracian Gold" project began with 7 certified producers. There are currently over 35 producers and processors who are certified or are in conversion to organic, all controlled by certification bodies, the brochure informs. This network of farmers is regularly informed about new developments and requirements in organic production, and are consulted individually by organic farming experts in the project and receive regular marketing support.

Тhe NTG project organic component will continue to work towards i) optimization of organic production by equipping farmers with knowledge and skills, ii) maintaining organic certification, improving farm documentation, iii) facilitating formation of marketing cooperatives for better processing and marketing, iv) facilitating local community support to organic farming and the NTG concept, v) improving marketing of organic foods to ER tourist places (guest-houses, hotels, restaurants) including provision of a new Recipe Book, vi) increasing promotion of ER organic produce and NTG concept by publications and publicity, media involvement, participation in fairs and exhibitions, etc. Last but not least, the organic component undertakes a valuable research on differences in agro-biodiversity between organic and conventional farms in the ER region.

See here the brochure

See here a publication on it in Agrozona news magazine, January 2013 issue (in Bulgarian)

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