Supporting employment in the FAEL region Project
The project was implemented in the period January – June 2023. Tatyana Stoikova was the coordinator, and Prof. Dimitar Hadjinikolov and Milena Ivanova – experts. Analyzes were prepared on the following issues:
  • Situation of the labor market in the region of FAEL and degree of development of intermediary services in this sector – author Tatiana Stoikova.
  • Legal and accounting requirements for the companies supplying intermediary services on the labour market – author Milena Ivanova.
  • Legal requirements and economic prerequisites for the provision of intermediary services through enterprises for temporary employment in the EU and in some countries – author Prof. Dimitar Hadjinikolov

For the preparation of the analyses, a large amount of information was studied from various sources, incl. up-to-date information from the Employment Agency on the state of employment and unemployment in the FAEL region. Interviews were conducted with employees from the Labor Bureau in Lovech, with representatives of personnel selection companies, as well as with experts from the National Revenue Agency in connection with the accounting reporting of the intermediary activity. It was found that: Loveshka and Pleven oblasts have a larger reserve of unused workforce compared to Veliko Tarnovska and Gabrovo oblasts. Unemployment is highest in the smaller towns and villages of Loveshka and Pleven regions: Yablanitsa, Ugarchin, Lukovit, Letnitsa, Pordim, Teteven, etc. Loveška and Pleven regions lag behind the rest of the regions in the degree of development of intermediary services on the labor market, and especially in the temporary employment services. The results and conclusions of the research were presented and discussed at a meeting of the Board of the foundation and published in internet.


Project “Supporting SMEs engaged in traditional crafts” (2022)
A total of 7 representatives of crafts engaged in ceramics, carpentry, carving and other artistic crafts took part in the project. The project was carried out in 3 main directions:
  • Supporting the realization of the production of traditional crafts.
  • Interaction and exchange of experience with craftsmen from other regions of Bulgaria
  • Training with the aim of increasing the qualification for use of ancient Bulgarian signs and symbols.

The first activity was held at the traditional craft fair in the village of Oreshak, commune. Troyan from the 13th to the 15th of August 2022. The FAEL Foundation finances a common stand of the interested artisans – participants in the project. Various ceramic, wood and textile products were presented. There were also pottery demonstrations with a wooden wheel, where young and old had the opportunity to try their hand at the craft and feel the clay in their hands.

It can be said that the interest in the stand of the FAEL Foundation at the traditional craft fair in the village of Oreshak was great this year as well. People took a marked interest in the demonstrations and many children, as well as adults, did not hesitate to roll up their sleeves. Good sales of ceramics, wood and textiles were also reported.
The second part of the project envisaged a visit to the XVIII International Fair of Traditional Crafts in Etara (September 3-5) and exchange of experience. The group of artisans participating in the project visited the permanent exhibition of artisans in Etara and there they exchanged experiences with the artisans who exhibited their products there. The visit took place on 10 September 2022.

Interesting meetings were held with representatives of ceramic, leather, carpentry and other crafts. All of them are still feeling the consequences of the Covid 19 pandemic. The optimistic thing is that at a slow pace the flow of tourists is rising and accordingly – the sales of the artisans compared to last year. 2022 is better, say the masters. We also asked the craftsmen, especially the representatives of the ceramic craft, who are generally large consumers of electricity, how they cope with the high prices of industrial electricity. Their answer was that they rely on compensations from the state, although even with compensations they pay a higher current prise compared to the energy prices before the crisis. It was also interesting to meet the carpenter-turner who uses a water lathe. Only running water is used to power the facility, making it independent of the electricity supply and therefore completely eco-friendly.

 For our part, we presented information about the traditional craft fair in the village of Oreshak and invited Gabrovo artisans, if interested, to take part in this event in August 2023. The third main direction of the project – Training of the participants about the ancient Bulgarian signs and symbols in order to find their application in folk crafts was held on October 1 in Troyan. The lecturer on the topic was Prof. Anna Avramova, who taught this subject at the National Academy of Arts. An interesting discussion was held at the end of the lecture.


School of Alternative Ecotourism

At the beginning of June 2023, within the framework of the School of Alternative Ecotourism project, lectures on various topics were given in Troyan by Prof. Dimitar Hadjinikolov (pictured), Dimitar Pironkov, who is also the coordinator of the project, Ivanka Tsrova and Maria Dimitrova, active participants in the development of tourism in the region.. The presentations on the lectures of Prof. Hadjinikolov on the topic “Ecotourism – an opportunity for sustainable prosperity” and Mr. Pironkov – “Financing of rural tourism” are placed on in the Bulgarian version of this site..


Organic Farming Summer School


n Organic Farming Summer School was jointly organized by FAEL Foundation and the Vocational School for Agriculture “Sergey Rumjantzev” ( in the town of Lukovit. It was held on 17 – 22 July, 2016 and included a theoretical and practical part.
The theoretical part featured lectures and discussions which were held at the Rossitsa Hotel in the St. Constantine and Elena Resort, Varna on 17 – 20 July, 2016. The lecturers at the Organic Farming Summer School were the Managing Board of FAEL Foundation Prof. Dr. Dimitar Hadjinikolov, chairman of the Managing Board of FAEL Foundation and Mr. Milan Kostadinov, organic farms certification consultant with Balkanbiocert OOD, Plovdiv, ( topics presented were:
· “History and Current State of Organic Farming in the EU and Bulgaria”, by Prof. Dr. Dimitar Hadjinikolov.
· “Requirements for Certification of Organic Horticulture Farms”, by Milan Kostadinov
· “Requirements for Certification of Organic Livestock Farms”, by Milan Kostadinov
· “The Organic Farm Business Plan and Funding” by Prof. Dr. Dimitar HadjinikolovThe practical part of the Summer School was held on 21 – 22 July, 2016 and included a visit to three organic farms in the region of Lovetch. Ms. Tatjana Stoicheva, member of the Managing Board of FAEL Foundation was responsible for the organization. Firstly, there was a visit to the organic farms of Ivan and Rossitsa Danchevi located in the village of Dobrodan. There was a short introduction about the history of the farm. Mr. Tjanko Hristov, a consultant at the Bioselena Foundation in the town of Karlovo (, spoke about the extensive efforts of the farm in the village of Dobrodan to receive certification for organic raising of cows. Participants from the Vocational School for Agriculture “Sergey Rumjantzev” showed great interest in getting acquainted with the practical specifics of organic cattle farming and what makes it different from conventional cattle farming.

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The Danchev Farm can also boast another important achievement: the implementation of energy efficient project which makes it possible to heat water for cleaning the milking system in order to avoid microbiological contamination of the milk. The system uses three energy sources – residual heat from cooling the warm milk, solar energy and an eco-pellets boiler. It is used only if the other two sources are not sufficient.

There was also a visit to the Ablanitsa Bio-Farm EOOD in the village of Ablanitsa. This enterprise uses the grazing method to raise chickens, hens, pigs, rabbits and calves. Its manager Ms. Gergana Petkova met the group of students and gave a talk about the ways different animals were raised and the problems faced in the implementation of organic farming. These problems, however, have not discouraged her and now her organic farm has significant achievements, see her website. (
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The participants of the Summer School then visited the organic walnut garden of Miroslav Mirchev in the village of Dulbok Dol. He gave a talk about the specifics of organic methods of growing fruit trees, about fruit processing, and above all about the eco-friendly ways to fight tree diseases.
Finally, in the afternoon on 22 July, 2016 there was an official closing of the Organic Farming Summer School, at which were present representatives of FAEL Foundation and teachers from the Vocational School for Agriculture. Ten of its students were awarded certificates of attendance. They received congratulations from the head teacher of the Vocational School Ms. Rumjana Georgieva and from the Chairman of the Managing Body of FAEL Foundation, Prof. Dimitar Hadjinikolov.


National Round Table “Production and Marketing of Bulgarian Organic Products”

On 15 July, 2015, The Bulgarian Industrial Association in Sofia held a National Round Table on the production and marketing of Bulgarian organic products

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The participants in the round table included the deputy-minister of Agriculture and foods Vassil Groudev, Dobrinka Pavlova – director of Directorate “Organic Agriculture and Plant Cultivation” at the Ministry of Agriculture and Food, Neli Vuleva – senior expert at the “Organic Agriculture and Plant Cultivation” directorate, prof. Hristina Yancheva, vice-rector of Agricultural University, Plovdiv, Albena Simeonova, co-chairwoman of the Bulgarian Organic Products Association, prof. Dimitar Hadjinikolov – chairman of FAEL Foundation. The moderator of the round table was Mr. Georgi Shivarov, deputy chairman of the Bulgarian Industrial Association.
The discussion focused on how to popularize the benefits of organic farming, provide assistance to organic farmers and the problems faced by farmers, suppliers and traders in organic products.
Deputy Minister Vassil Groudev said that organic production was a priority of the Ministry and that was reflected in the direct payments schemes as well as in the Rural Development Program 2014 – 2020 and the benefits which the sector obtains upon application. The budget for producing organic products is five times higher than the one during the previous program period – from €33 million it was increased to €152 million. For the first time there are plans for funding organic livestock breeding – measures are incorporated for pastoralism, preservation of endangered local breeds, biological livestock breeding, etc.
Albena Simeonova pointed out that the lack of an overall concept of organic agriculture development was a prerequisite for the insufficient interest in it. There is also insufficient information on the opportunities for providing assistance to organic production. According to Albena Simeonova it was necessary several ministries to work together in terms of the policies for promotion and development of organic farming. In this respect she made a proposition on behalf of the Bulgarian Organic Production Association a regulation to be introduced – 5% foods for children and pupils to be of organic origin, thus encouraging organic products.
In support of the thesis for participation of all interested institutions in the policy management for development of organic farming, Prof. Dr. Hristina Yanchava said that for the last two years the Agriculture University in Plovdiv had not been able to attract the required number of candidates to study for a degree in Organic Farming (Bachelor’s and Master’s). She suggested that the profession “Organic Farming” should be made regulated.
Prof. Dimitar Hadjinikolov drew special attention to the economic effect on developing organic farming. According to him we can now identify separate commodity niches such as organic textiles, organic pharmaceuticals, organic cosmetics, organic furniture, etc. Prof. Hadjinikolov believes that the key problem is the rising added value which remains in Bulgaria. Unfortunately, mainly unprocessed organic products are currently exported while the available readymade organic products are mainly imports. Furthermore, there is almost a lack of marketing studies and activities. Prof. Hadjinikolov underscored the need for a complex approach to organic production