The Slovenia Times

Posočje aims to become Slovenia's first ecoregion

Environment & NatureIndustry & Agriculture
The Soča Valley.
Photo: STA
File photo

Known for its snow-capped peaks, green meadows and the emerald river, Slovenia's western region of Posočje is dotted with small farms, many of them organic. Now the region hopes to become the first ecoregion in the country.

Unsuitable for intensive or extensive farming, the region has excellent conditions for organic farming and many farmers till the land and grow cattle in environment-friendly ways. The goal is to get more on board.

Stretching along the Soča River, the region includes the communities of Bovec, Kobarid, Tolmin and Kanal. Data from 2021 shows that 12.3% of the farms there are officially organic and cover 26.5% of the farming land, which is substantially above the national average of 5.5% and 11%, respectively.

In fact, it was a workshop held in the region 25 years ago which led to the first organic farms in Slovenia. The Čadrg ecovillage followed and now the aim is to declare the first ecoregion in the country, Jana Čuk, the head of the Nova Gorica unit of the Chamber of Agriculture and Forestry (KGZ), told a meeting of stakeholders in Kobarid on 31 January.

The initiative, spearhead by the Posočje Development Centre, will involve an application for the Agriculture Ministry's call for ecoregions next year.

The ministry will allocate €92 million for organic farming and €1.5 million for organic beekeeping in 2023-2027, which compares to only around €60 million in the previous period.

Bogdan Črv, an organic livestock consultant at KGZ Nova Gorica, says that many farms in Posočje already meet organic farming standards. However, due to the complexity of the procedures, many are not opting to join the official organic farming scheme.

According to Klemen Mlečnik from the Association of Organic Farmers of the Northern Primorska, joining forces is the only way forward in this area. The era when organic farmers were oddballs is over.

Organic farming goes hand in hand with development of tourism because it provides the visitor with quality local food and drink, cultivated landscapes and genuine relationships. Those are exactly what western tourists are looking for, Mlečnik said.


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