Friday, 31 January 2020 14:40

    PP8 – Pilot Case Study developed for AgroLabs Cluster in Blagoevgrad region

    The Sofia University "St. Kliment Ohridski", Faculty of Biology, Department “Ecology and
    Environmental Protection” (PP8) of Agrolabs project worked on the development of a
    Pilot Case Study in Blagoevgrad region. During the wide-ranging consultation process
    identified in WP3 and WP4 the cluster would operate in the field of dairy production.
    The dairy industry has been determined by local stakeholders as the most advancing
    agro-food sector on the target territory where innovative solutions are expected to
    overcome current sectoral challenges and difficulties. The partnership brought in
    innovative solution for all local dairy and livestock farms, but specifically to meet the
    needs of Kozle Ltd. – a small family farm who needs to expand their biological
    production of goat milk products.
    In this Pilot case study suggests two-dimensional approach, problems that shape the
    current unfavorable situation in the regional dairy industry. One tackles the roots of the
    problem with the poor quality of the cows' food (raw milk)- this is one of the major
    factors limiting dairy production, caused by poor-quality feed, It was suggested, during
    the stakeholders’ consultation, to add sawdust compost to the organic fertilization in 1: 1
    ratio (in compliance with the Commission Regulation (EC) No 889/2008 of 5 September
    2008). The added sawdust of broad leaved trees will greatly enrich the soil with carbon
    and other microelements; it will also improve the soil's moisture retention capacity and
    the soil’s structure itself, and last but not least, it will increase the yield of phytomass.
    The research component of the Pilot Case Study (report “Soil microbiota as an indicator
    of soil quality and land use impacts in agroecosystems of Razlog Municipality”) sheds a
    light on soil quality in the target region to help dairy stakeholders take accurate
    decisions on further steps and measures to improve and expand their production and
    thus to strengthen the overall performance of the regional milk value chain.
    The second problem that Pilot Case Study addresses evokes urgent actions – that is the
    low purchase price of raw milk products that local retailers pay to milk producers and
    then sell the milk to dairy processors at a much higher cost. To avoid these unfair and
    disloyal pricing strategies, it was suggested during the stakeholders’ consultation, to
    establish an internet portal to facilitate the communication between local milk
    producers, retailers and dairy processors. In the context of the future AgroLabs cluster,
    the portal would improve the visibility of the cluster and its benefits for the
    competitiveness of the local dairy sector. The ultimate objective of the portal is to
    provide faster access to and exchange of information on livestock feed, end products,
    distributors, stores, prices, etc.
    A broader and sustainable resolution of this problem is believed to be found within the
    establishment of AgroLabs cluster who is going to set the pursuit of identical objective –
    to modernize the performance and to increase the competitiveness of the regional milk
    value chain.

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