A hot topic for thousands of farmers in Bulgaria is uniting in a common Agrarian Chamber. The benefit of this will be that together farmers will be able to work in partnership with the state to solve their problems and also have representation in the Association of European Farmers, which guides agricultural policy in the EU.
The idea of establishing an agrarian chamber in the country dates back to many years ago, but so far every attempt has been unsuccessful. Until recently. On Easter eve this year, representatives of 17 branch organizations comprising of more than 8000 Bulgarian farmers established their national structure - the Bulgarian Agrarian Chamber - in the village of Arbanassi (Veliko Tarnovo region).
The initiative aims to help Bulgaria join Europe’s largest and most influential agricultural union Copa-Cogeca. The organisation is an active partner, and when necessary an opponent, in key farming decisions in Brussels. So far, however, Bulgaria remains the only European country that is not a member of the prestigious organisation.
"As soon as the Agrarian Chamber was established, we submitted documents for membership in the European family of farmers Copa-Cogeca," Simeon Karakolev, co-chairman of the National Sheep and Goat Breeding Association, told Radio Bulgaria: "All our problems would not have happened if we had representation in Copa-Cogeca. For example, if we had participated in the working groups on potato production when the European Commission was drawing up its strategic guidelines.
Through membership in the international organisation alone, we are immediately entitled to appoint a representative in each sector to the permanent working groups there. That is the point of us joining together, because we want to show our members that unification is the only possible path to prosperity and to sustainability, if we can talk about prosperity in our agriculture at all.
And this is exactly the model with which we should enter the European family of farmers. Thousands of people are members of the newly established Bulgarian Chamber of Agriculture. We are looking for those farmers' associations that are ready to take up the challenge and have national representation. After all, we can structure ourselves and offer common solutions."
On the eve of May 6, Simeon Karakolev invited everyone to come to the National Sheep Breeders Convention in Bulgaria. By tradition, it is held on St. George's Day - patron saint of shepherd