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NTG Organic Farmers had an Experience Exchange Trip

From 9 to 15 June, 15 organic producers and processors from the network of New Thracian Gold were on an experience exchange trip in Austria, Slovenia and Croatia. The group was selected among 35 organic products producers and included the most committed and active members of the NTG network in the Eastern Rhodopes.

The NTG group visited five farms in Austria, three farms in Slovenia and six - in Croatia. Special attention was paid to the agricultural biodiversity in agricultural areas - an initiative that NTG project began in 2012 on agricultural land (cereals, orchards and pastures) of several producers from the project network.

"I was impressed in the first farm by the link between the biodiversity and the organic farming. Special measures are taken and we should learn from this”, Petko Angelov, a producer of organic eincorn from the village of Rabovo says. The biodiversity in the Eastern Rhodopes is very high
and according to him now is the time to take measures for its protection through the development of the organic farming. Other thing that impressed him was the skilful expansion of activities in the farms – not only to produce organic products, but also to provide opportunities for visitors to stay in special guest rooms. In one of the farms Angelov has seen flour that is they own brand and he would like to use this experience to make his own branded wheat flour. According to him the requirements for the own production in Bulgaria are tougher than in Austria.

Krasyio Deliivanov, producer of organic tahini in the village of Kondovo is impressed by the longtime farming traditions in the three countries that the NTG group visited. There are farms with a long history and the young people are turning them into organic, while we start from scratch, he said. Particularly impressed him and the fact that the farms have diversified production: not one but several products - eg. grapes, wine, olive oil, herbs and animals. Thus, the loop is closed and the production waste from one used in the production of another product.

The 15 NTG organic producers and processors in the group had an opportunity to gain information and knowledge that they can apply in the region of the Eastern Rhodopes, NTG coordinator on organic farming Vladislav Popov says. He talked with the farmers after their return and they were all satisfied with the visit, the information and knowledge they have received. The impressions and recommendations of the visit will be summarized through special questionnaires and will be used to improve the NTG network of organic producers.

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