The Soča Valley FLAG is in north-western Slovenia near the border with Italy. It includes the river Soča which has its source in the Julian Alps, and which attracts fishermen and visitors from all over the world each year.
The most important sector in the FLAG area is processing which represents 30% of total employment. The River Soča area is one of the fastest growing tourist destinations in Slovenia. The number of tourists is increasing, as well as the number of businesses involved in tourism and catering.
The fisheries in the area are small scale and consist only of freshwater salmonid fisheries including local endemic species such as marble trout and Adriatic grayling. The aquaculture facilities are based on water systems which allow for the production of high quality fish products. Fisheries are oriented mainly towards local markets, with the possibility of extending marketing of special and high quality aquaculture products to wider niche markets (nationally and internationally) which is the biggest challenge for the fisheries.
The main challenges in the area include limited employment opportunities, low competitivity of the businesses, lack of value-added activities for fisheries products and underdeveloped infrastructure.
LAG Soča Valley has two protected areas:
The FLAG strategy responds to the area's specific challenges by creating better employment opportunities, improving competitive business environments, raising knowledge of business activities, encouraging local producers to increase market value and develop new products, providing conditions for the implementation of primary services in the countryside, and developing new infrastructure in the countryside as an added value for tourism, culture, and aquaculture.
The strategy envisages the following measures:
These six measures are supporting the promotion and marketing of typical local products, the development of agriculture, horticulture and aquaculture, and the development and marketing of special tourism destination in Triglav national park and involving vulnerable groups in new activities.
The FLAG also receives EAFRD (LEADER) and ERDF for its strategy.
LAG Soča Valley already published a public call for projects in December 2016, closed in February 2017. More info here.
Another public call will be published in the second part of the year 2017.
In the local development strategy, it is planned to publish two more public calls in 2019 and in 2020.
Public sector: 14 members – municipalities, Slovenian Forest Service – Tolmin branch office, Local tourist organisation, Triglav national park, occupational activity centre, Angling club of Tolmin etc.
Economic sector: 12 members – LIBO fish farm, FARONIKA fish farm, TONKLI Tourist farm, PLANIKA Dairy, Soča-Trenta Cooperative etc.
Private sector: 28 members (of which NGOs are 18 members) – individual persons, Foundation Peace of Walk, Association of sheep breeders from Upper Soča Valley, Tolmin Mountaineering Association etc.