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The future of agriculture and rural development in Bulgaria
Conference: Transforming the Agriculture and Rural Development Sector in Bulgaria
June 4, 2015Sofia


The conference aims to stimulate a broad public discussion on the current challenges and future goals in the Bulgarian agriculture and rural development sector, in relation to the medium- and long-term global and European trends.

On June 4, the Ministry of Agriculture and Food and the World Bank will host a high-level conference on Transforming the Agriculture and Rural Development Sector in Bulgaria.

The conference aims to stimulate a broad discussion with sector stakeholders on the current challenges and future goals in the Bulgarian agriculture and rural development (ARD) sector, in relation to the long term global and European trends. It will also serve as a forum for the Ministry of Agriculture and Food senior management to present their long-term reform and investment priorities in the ARD sector, going beyond the EU-regulated framework.

Finally, as climate change is considered to be one of the global drivers of agriculture, the conference shall provide the key challenges on the vulnerabilities of Bulgarian agriculture, while highlighting some possibilities of adaptation in the changing climate.

The European Union (EU) and the world itself are facing a moment of transformation. Long-term challenges are strongly coming to the fore and call for decisive vision and action. Fast-growing global population, increased pressure on natural resources and a rapidly warming planet are setting a new operating environment. In Europe, ageing adds to the challenge.

All these will have profound implications on farming and rural livelihoods. While the global demand for food is rising, increasing urbanization, growing energy (and fertilizer) prices, stress on water resources, and increased climate-vulnerability of crops and livestock will curb food production.

Public and private actors must act collectively to override these threats and seize the new opportunities. In face of this, the EU has put forward an ambitious Europe 2030 strategy, anchored in three mutually reinforcing priorities: smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. The 2030 target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 40% sets the tone that all national and sectoral strategies must converge to.

At this time, Bulgaria must make strategic choices about the future of its agriculture and rural areas. These have to capture its unique potential and many strengths, and successfully respond to the changing global and European environment.

Drafting a long-term vision and strategy for the Bulgarian agriculture and rural development sector would constitute a major step forward towards a coherent, far-reaching and stable public policy framework.

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Тоny Thompson, World Bank Country Manager, spoke at the opening of the conference.

Download Full Agenda (PDF)

Agenda

10:00 – 10:30

Registration - Welcome Coffee

10:30 – 10:45

Opening remarks

Ms. Desislava TANEVA, Minister of Agriculture and Food

Mr. Antony THOMPSON, Country Manager for Bulgaria, The World Bank

Session 1: The Bulgarian Agriculture and Rural Development Sector in 2030

This session will bring out the outlook for the agriculture and rural space that Bulgaria is envisioning by 2030. In doing so, it will acknowledge the medium- and long-term opportunities and challenges that manifest at the global and European levels, and will highlight the strengths that Bulgaria can capitalize on for the path on formulating a long-term vision for the agriculture and rural development sector.

10:45 – 11:40

Panel interventions

Ms. Desislava TANEVA, Minister of Agriculture and Food

Priorities for a long-term vision for a sustainable agriculture in Bulgaria

Mr. Dacian CIOLOS, European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, 2010-2014

The European Model of Agriculture: still valid in addressing the global agricultural challenges?

Mr. Holger KRAY, Lead Agriculture Economist at the World Bank

Farming for the future: meeting global food needs, enhancing resilience and reducing agriculture’s carbon footprint

Mr. Grahame DIXIE, Advisor at the World Bank

High-value agriculture starts with a vision

Mr. Shane HAMILL, Ambassador at the Irish Food Board’s Origin Green Program and expert of the World Bank

Smart, green and sustainable: Lessons from Ireland’s Food Harvest 2020 vision for agri-food growth

11:40 – 12:30

Panel discussion and Q&A

12:30 – 13:30

Lunch Break

Session 2: Increasing farmers’ resilience to climate change

This session will narrow the discussion down to one of the most visible global drivers in the agriculture sector: climate change. Source of both opportunities and threats, it has been impacting Bulgarian agriculture more and more. In particular, changes in precipitation and temperature patterns require novel adaptation responses, well suited to and understood by the Bulgarian farmers. This session will provide a specific focus on what Bulgaria plans to do with regard to modernizing its irrigation systems, introducing innovative risk management tools, or improving farm practice.

13:30 – 14:20

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

14:20 – 15:15

Panel interventions

Ms. Ivelina VASSILEVA, Minister of Environment and Water

The role of agriculture in the Bulgarian climate change strategy

Mr. Vassil GROUDEV, Deputy-Minister of Agriculture and Food

Building resilience for adaptation to climate change in Bulgarian agriculture

Mr. Rumen HRISTOV, Chairman of the Agriculture Committee in the Bulgarian Parliament

Impact of climate change on Bulgarian agriculture and key vulnerabilities of the rural economy

Mr. Dacian CIOLOS, European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, 2010-2014

The EU 2030 strategy: perspectives on adaptation in agriculture

Mr. Holger KRAY, Lead Agriculture Economist at the World Bank

Climate-smart agriculture: enhancing food security while facing climate change

Panel discussion and Q&A

15:15 – 15:30

Concluding Remarks

Ms. Desislava TANEVA, Minister of Agriculture and Food

Mr. Antony THOMPSON, Country Manager, The World Bank

  • Ms. Desislava Taneva

    Minister of Agriculture and Food
  • Mr. Vassil Groudev

    Deputy Minister at the Ministry of Agriculture and Food
  • Ms. Ivelina Vassileva

    Minister of Environment and Water
  • Mr. Rumen Hristov

    Chairman of the Agriculture and Foods Committee of the Bulgarian Parliament
  • Mr. Dacian Ciolos

    European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development from 2010-14
    Senior European politician with extensive executive experience, both as a Minister in the Romanian Government and as a European Commissioner.
  • Mr. Тony Thompson

    Country Manager for Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia at the World Bank
  • Mr. Holger Kray

    Lead Agriculture Economist at the World Bank
  • Mr. Grahame Dixie

    Advisor at the World Bank
  • Mr. Shane Hamill

    World Bank Expert and Ambassador of the Irish Food Board‘s Origin Green Program
event
  • date: Thursday, June 4, 2015
  • Time: 10:00 – 15:30
  • venue: Sofia Hotel Balkan (Sheraton), 5 Sveta Nedelya Square, Sofia