Soon after the measures against Covid-19 were relaxed in Bulgaria and participation in seminars and conferences was allowed, a very interesting workshop and discussion circle was held in Gotse Delchev on June 8, 2020 with a focus on the digitalization of agriculture and the advantages of cooperation.
The event was organized by the Institute of Agrarian Economics IAI, Sofia under the research project “Theoretical models for the development of digital agriculture (Diagro)”, in cooperation of the H2020 NEWBIE project, where the Business Incubator – Gotse Delchev BI-GD is the BG partner.
15 participants took part – representatives of farmers, the Institute of Agrarian Economics , National Association of Small family farmers and processors, LAG “Gotse Delchev-Garmen-Hadjidimovo”, public Plant Protection service, NGOs, team of the BI-GD
The focus in the speech of Rositsa Dzhambazova, BI-DG were the new entrants, their challenges and and models and networking
The National Association of Small Family Farms and Processors presented the benefits of the cooperation and good Bulgarian practices
The presentation of Bozhura Fidanska from IAI about the objectives, needs, benefits and the process of digitalization provided an excellent basis for active and fruitful discussion. She emphasized that digitalisation would be among the EU priority for the next programming period
Key elements of the discussion: is it possible to digitalize agriculture in Bulgaria in particular mountainous regions, what the main problems and challenges of digitalization are, whether the preparation for digitalization of agriculture has already started at national level, what kind of responsibilities the local level would have, how digitalization would influence farmers, what the price would be, could small farms afford it to be competitive, who and how will organize, manage and monitor the process at different levels.
The discussion also focused on limited access to land, especially municipal land for livestock, major bureaucratic obstacles and delayed e-government in agriculture and the extremely slow process of approving agricultural projects, the need for genuine simplification of procedures and real support for agricultural producers, efficient use of public funds to achieve higher competitiveness.