A partner meeting involved in the Qualify project was held in Bulgaria between 1 and 3 June 2022

The Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) organized a meeting of the partners of the Interreg Europe QUALIFY project from 1 to 3 June 2022.

DAY 1 - June 1, 2022

Mr. Tsvetan Simeonov, president of the BCCI, emphasized the importance of the grain supply to Bulgaria (mainly wheat, breadfruit, barley, rye, and rice) and the need for great efforts to be competitive suppliers of raw materials agriculture.

Dr. Elitsa Draganova, Chief Expert of the Food Control Directorate of the Bulgarian Food Safety Agency, explained the functions and structure of the Bulgarian Food and Safety Agency, in particular the systems for fraud prevention and quality control in Bulgaria, as well as all the food control regulations that apply in the country.

The GS1 discovery APP, which downloaded to the mobile phone allows you to have the information on all the traceability of the product by reading the barcode, was presented by Dessislava Dimitrova, (from GS1 Bulgària).

Vladimir Minev, from Bulgarian SME Promotion Agency presented the voucher program which will be supported by the action plan and results from past editions, so that SMEs can implement ICT systems. Most Bulgarian companies are now struggling to make the most of the opportunities offered by digital technologies.

Dessislava Dimitrova, associate professor Bulgarian Academy of Sciences reviewed the situation of agriculture in Bulgaria in the different historical stages, highlighting the particularities of the following periods: Before 1944, 1944-1989, 1989-2007, and 2007-2020. Challenges from 2020 and "Slow food" initiatives (which are now working in the territory of Bulgaria) were also exposed during the meeting.

DAY 2 - June 2, 2022

During the 2nd day, the partners conducted study visits to several agri-food companies in Sofia province and the Pazardzhik region.

DOMA (industrial bakery): DOMA is a medium-sized company that was founded in 1991, initially as a distributor of sweets and confectionery. The company's goal was to create a product that resembled the taste of freshly baked homemade cookies, but production also diversified with other products such as Swiss rolls and cakes.  In recent years, work has also been done on the creation of products with all-natural ingredients and without preservatives, the "Svejest" line. The company has committed to healthy products and has dispensed with the use, among others, of palm oil. The company's perception is that there are more and more problems with the quality of raw materials.

Bessa Valley Winery
: The winery is located in the Bessa Valley, which has a tradition of wine production dating back more than 4,000 years to the time of the Thracians. This production area is located about 150 km southeast of Sofia in the Pazardjik region. The wines of the area are characterized by their acidity and minerality and the main cultivated varieties are merlot, syrah, petit verdot and cabernet sauvignon. The winery currently produces around 650,000 kg of grapes and around 720,000 bottles of wine are produced, with home-grown grapes. The wines are protected by the protected geographical indication IGP Thracian Lowlands.

Day 3 - June 3, 2022

In the final meeting, the representatives of each of the project partners presented the final versions of the respective action plans, which are currently already being validated by the Interreg Europe organization.

Project coordination

Mr. Ricard Esparza, representative of the leading partner Catalonia and who directs the management of the project, reviewed the pending activities of phase 1 of the project, such as the preparation of the last newsletter, by Bulgaria, about the last two semesters. As a reminder, the conditions for the financing of the expenses generated during the first phase of the project were reviewed.

Regarding phase 2, it will be necessary to monitor and control the implementation of the action plans. He commented on the two types of reports (initial and final) on the action plans that must be drawn up by each partner, with details of content, activities and deadlines.

With regard to the final event of the project, scheduled for spring 2023 in Barcelona, the conditions for participation by all partners, assistance, financing and topics to be discussed were reported.

Finally, the attendees raised questions and discussed other matters such as the financial audit and conditions for members who are administrators.