During the 4th meeting of the Grundtvig project – Plant Wild, in Kilis (Turkey), experts from Lithuania, Portugal, Spain and Turkey discussed about the current situation of the businesses of wild medicinal and aromatic plants (MAPs) in their countries and the challenges for implementing training.
Information of MAPs businesses in each partner country was gathered, for detecting trends of use and identifying needs on future training.
Some topics were analyzed:
- Resource description and distribution.
- Production and use estimation.
- Value chain.
- Strenghts, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT analyses)
- Training needs, according to stakeholders involved (harvesters and buyers).
In each country, there are many different MAPs species and varieties, with high richness diversity, present in wild habitats. Then wild MAPs are used in different sectors from cosmetic, pharmaceuticals to food industries.
Nevertheless, it is difficult to know who is working in wild harvesting, as this is a dark sector. And nowadays the number of professional harvesters is decreasing as they are getting older, so traditional knowledge is disappearing with them.
Unfortunately, there is stated few knowledge on botanic and chemistry and lack of information on the habitats of new harvesters commissioned by buyers.
Misidentification of species, by not very well taught people, could involve real health danger to consumers. Incorrect knowledge could affect health security. Sometimes self-educated people teach other people, who are going to do wild harvesting, in plant uses, and they will also transfer incompleted information to consumers.
But even professional harvesters have incorrect information on sustainable harvesting and use of MAPs, and on proper transformation and good manufacturing practices, linked to obsolete technologies and ancient harvesting techniques. Furthermore, legal framework and procedures are insufficient and not well known.
Opportunities for wild harvesting activity are stated in the report and some recommendations on training are provided.