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Second Open Day for Organic Farming In the Eastern Rhodopes

Date: 07.09.2011

On 9 September, the model organic farm in the village of Topolovo, Madzharovo municipality, which is supported by the Bulgarian-Dutch project The New Thracian Gold, will be the place to be for farmers, processors and the local community of the Eastern Rhodopi region.

The Day of Organic Farming In the Eastern Rhodopes will provide opportunities for exchanging expertise and information between farmers and processors, representatives of environmental NGOs, municipal officials and others who endeavour to create a new economic model in the region of the municipalities of Kardzhali, Madzharovo Stambolovo,Ivaylovgrad and Krumovgrad. "The New Thracian Gold" project relies on the social impact that the Day creates to unite local communities in the region.

The Ambassador of the Kingdom of The Netherlands to Bulgaria Mr. Karel van Kesteren will be a special guest to the event. Representatives of the Ministry of Agriculture and Food, municipal and regional offices Agriculture in Haskovo and Kardzhali and Regional Agriculture Advisory Services are also expected to be present there.

The event is organised for the second time in a row. The First Day of organic farming in the Eastern Rhodopes which took place in October 2010 was attended by more than 60 farmers and guests.The event aims to promote the production and consumption of organic food. Traditional agricultural products from Eastern Rhodopes, like wine, grapes, honey and herbs, which are already certified or are in transition to a certification, can be tasted.

More than 180 people have been trained in organic farming within The New Thracian Gold project at nine training events. Three manuals on organic agriculture principles and practices, organic herb production and organic plant protection have been published within the project and have enjoyed great success among organic producers. Seventeen farmers and processors were financially supported by the project through a scheme that covers 50% of their organic certification costs for 2011 and gives them an opportunity to apply for measures 121 and 123 of the Rural Development Plan.

In 2009, The New Thracian Gold project began with seven certified producers. There are currently over 37 producers who are certified or are in transition and three processors, controlled by certification bodies. This network of farmers is regularly informed about new developments and requirements in organic production, consulted individually by organic farming experts in the project and receive regular marketing support.

The New Thracian Gold is a five-year project (2009-2014) for the sustainable development of the Eastern Rhodopes executed by the Dutch environmental organizations ARK and Avalon, which have extensive international experience in projects for environmental protection and organic farming. The project is financed by Dutch Postcode Lottery, the biggest charity lottery in the country, which supports 80 non-governmental organizations working for a fairer, greener world.
The New Thracian Gold is the unique project with an integrated approach combining the work on three components: wildlife, organic farming and ecotourism. Improving wildlife and biodiversity of the Eastern Rhodopes through rewilding the characteristic mosaic landscape. Rewilding through reintroduction of ancient herbivores like tarpans, shorthorn-cattle, red deer etc. Eastern Rhodopes have all the prerequisites to become a center for ecotourism - a stunning nature, huge variety of flora and fauna, rich cultural heritage. Combined with organic farming it not only provides quality food, but it creates jobs, raises living standards of local people and reduces the depopulation of the area.
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During the Day of organic farming in the Eastern Rhodopes you will have the opportunity to interview the organic production coordinator in the "The New Thracian Gold" project Dr. Vladislav Popov, local farmers and processors, municipality administrators and community members.

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