The cross visit under NEFERTITI project was organized from 17 to 19.10.2021 in Sofia and Plovdiv, Bulgaria

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The cross visit was organized by NEFERTITI Network 07 “Improved nutrient use efficiency in horticulture”.

At the meeting were19 participants from the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium and Bulgaria. They were representatives of Network 07 hubs, advisors, farmers, researchers and policy makers from Bulgarian Ministry of Agriculture.

The introductory session was organized in Sofia, Bulgaria. Representatives of the NEFERTITI NAAS project team presented main characteristics of agricultural production in Bulgaria and introduced to other participants the agenda of  the cross-visit. The participants in the introductory session presented their activities under the NEFERTITI project and there was structured discussion on the presented presentations and exchange views.

The cross-visit continued on next day with three demo events on the field. Two demo events were organized  in Plovdiv and one in Sofia.

The first event was at the Agroecological Centre of the Agricultural University, Plovdiv. The manager of the centre presented centre demonstration fields and activities. The Centre was established in 1989 and performs activities related to the organization and implementation of research and training programs and projects in the fields of organic farming, agroecology and environmental protection. The is a typical demonstration research farm for organic production which provides open field days, demonstrations, exhibitions, seminars and round-table discussions.

Priority areas are promotion of organic and sustainable agriculture in Bulgaria and providing a practical demonstration of methods and agro techniques for organic farming, incl. testing of biological preparations and fertilizers.

Main characteristics of the Centre are:

  • Organic production of plant products: vegetables, fruits and fodder crops.

  • Experimental fields for perennial crops – 0.3 ha, vegetables – 0.3 ha, fodder crops – 1 ha.

  • No application of chemical plant protection products.

  • Use of an extensive approach in the cultivation of the respective crops.

  • Introduction of soil-friendly tillage taking into account weed infestation with the respective weeds.

  • Development of a crop rotation schedule for adequate absorption of nutrients in the soil and maximum use of the potential of plants. – Optimal irrigation in accordance with crop requirements.

After the Centre a high-tech greenhouse for year-round hydroponic vegetable growing was visited in Malo Konare. The greenhouse area is 0.8 hectares. The greenhouse is equipped with a food unit, automatic microclimate control, weather station, irrigation water temperature control system, chemical water analysis. The farmer uses biological plant protection products as well as bioagents. The participants were extremely excited to transfer knowledge and experience with the agronomist advisor of the greenhouse, also with the hosts and employees.

The third demo event for the day was in greenhouse in Sofia with area of 0.5 hectares. It is equipped with an Oxy-hydrogen production system. The system is a solution specially created for the boiler farms of the greenhouse producers. The system is based on Power-To-Gas (PTG) technology, which uses alternative energy (wind or solar) for fuel production. The only process that allows the use of alternative energy sources for fuel production is the method of electrolysis of water. Electrolysis is a method by which the water molecule is separated into hydrogen and oxygen by means of electrical energy, and the resulting mixture is a high-energy fuel.

In summary, the demo day succeed to demonstrate the importance of effective nutrient management in different farms, which goes hand in hand with effective integrated plant protection and innovation in the overall management of other processes, as well as the highlights of their activities – benefits, difficulties and disadvantages.

Overall, the Network 7 2021 Cross-Visit was successful. All cross-visit participants were thankful for nicely hospitability by the NAAS team.

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