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It's 6 a.m. but the pickers are already working in Rose Valley, home to Bulgaria's centuries-old rose oil industry, providing a vital ingredient for the global perfumes industry – and now with EU protection.Practically all expensive perfumes the world over contain rose oil.The process requires vast volumes of petals.A good worker – it can be tough finding enough staff – can gather up to 25-30 kilograms each morning, but 3,500 kilograms are needed to produce just one kilo of oil. Bulgaria's annual production of about 1,500 kilograms of rose oil requires 5.25 tons of petals, grown on 3,800 hectares of plantations, mostly in the valley around the central Bulgaria town of Kazanlak. Because of its high price, rose oil has often been faked.Distillers expect a good year even if not a repeat of the bumper harvest from last year, which was the best in the past 20 years.
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