1st Focus Group Meeting, Plovdiv, Bulgaria
Agricultural University of Plovdiv hosted the First FOCUS Group meeting on the 10th May 2018. Mainly academia was invited to participate from agriculture and food processing fields. Ms Petkova welcomed the participants on behalf of AUP and the consortium of the project. REGBEL gave a de-tail presentation of the objectives and the pro-gress of the project. Ms Petkova provided a set of questions in order to start the discussion. The seminar was held immediately after the 2nd FOCUS Steerıng commıttee meeting. Following discussions from the 2nd FOCUS SC meeting, the consequent questions arose for consideration and further clarification. Among the questions that were discussed was to share their expertise on agri-food cooperation in Bulgaria, what kind of support and ser-vices (labeling, packaging processing etc.) do the local SMEs need, their value-chain, related clusters, sec-tors and SMEs selection, Capacity Building workshops, trends/ needs and technology (innovative practic-es/ideas) to be considered.
Five Bulgarian experts in the field of agrarian sciences and food technologies were invited to take part in the meeting and discussion was held with the FOCUS partners. The Bulgarian experts shared personal ex-perience and observations on the issues identified in advance for discussion.
The dıscussıon maınly expanded through the main hubs of the three sectors in Bulgaria (dairy, oil-producing industry, and wine) that ıt could be positioned in Plovdiv. Another suggestıon was of the estab-lishing of a “Clean food” Cluster. Equal ımportant was the fact that thıs can be achieved (i.e., ingredients, processes, packaging, distribution) and must take ınto consıderatıon the structures/functions/mechanisms. The coordınator of the 1st Focus group Mrs Mariana Petkova – Asis. Prof. of Microbiology and Environmen-tal Biotechnology, AUP, she proposed a plan to select key players and policies to build an ex-ample cluster in the dairy industry. Dr. Sofia Karma, from the NTUA presented the strategy for building an internet platform of the project and training tools. Interactıve dıscussıons and valuable opınıons were exchanged.