Medicinal plants belong to the valuable wealth of indigenous flora in the cross-border region of Greece-Albania, which are hitherto untapped. The variety of climate and geomorphology of the region allows the development of large and rare varieties of plants, which may even be grown easily if there is interest and a network of marketing. The traditional, medicinal use of these plants is known in the region and dates back to ancient times, from the time of Dioscorides (100 BC), who was the first to record the collection, drying, storage and use of many medicinal plants (herbs), such as hypericum, sage, tea, salvia, etc. These herbs are appropriate for mild forms of disease such as cold, cough, ulcer etc. The traditional use and registration of these plants is a legacy for future systematic exploitation. Unfortunately, so far, the local herbs in the cross-border zone of Epirus-South Albania have not received any systematic study, exploitation and management. Nowadays, more than ever, the use of these plants as ingredients in health products and nutrition has been essential due to the shift of the modern consumers to natural, herbal products for the well-being. The proposed project, HERBINNO, intends to promote the exploitation and management of local medicinal plants in a modern, international consumer environment. The aim of the project is the certification of active ingredients and bioactive properties of plants and the proposed commercial use to obtain sustainable development initiatives and to progress the use of this invaluable, local, natural wealth. It intends to further this process by training new producers/cultivators and then linking them to herbal companies in order to promote contract farming and increase the economic activity in the field. Furthermore the project aims to highlight the cultural and traditional value of medicinal herbs for their exploitation in the touristic industry. The objectives of the project will be accomplished through the main following actions: 1. Promotion and publicity of the project. Conference, training seminars, Infodays, development of web-page, brochures, and other publications; 2. Complete inventory-identification, selection of cross-border medicinal plants and identification of bio-active ingredients of several medicinal plants in the cross-border zone; 3. Pilot cultivation of certain teas with known buying demand (like oregano); 4. Creation of 3 exhibition & informational centers as a touristic attraction; 5. Creation of a botanical garden as a touristic atttraction, 6. Market research and evaluation for the innovative exploitation of selected plants as bioactive, beneficial for human use. Study for the establishment of a joint bilateral platform of entrepreneurship for the cross-border zone; 7: Creation of a cross-border herbal and producer database and active actions to link farmers/producers with the herbal industry.
Expected Results (EN):
1. Promotion and highlight of the wealth of medicinal plants of the cross-border region: The diversity, similarity and the overall wealth of herbs of the area combined with traditional and non-uses will emerge and will run in an innovative, modern, versatile way. The highlight will be used in many ways to develop the region as tourism promotion, environmental education, attracting skilled observers of flora etc. 2. Promotion of medicinal properties of common local selected herbs, based on scientifically-sound results and specific components of plants. 3. Enhancement of the opportunities for exploitation and utilization of local medicinal plants, based on specific projects creation and development of local production with an international perspective and dimension. Promotion of innovative new natural herbal products can be created with the use of local herbs to attract investors. 4. Conservation, preservation and management of local, rich, and valuable flora, based on rational, sustainable and profitable use of this indigenous wealth. 5. Sensitization of local communities on the pharmaceutical and entrepreunial value of medicinal plants and herbal products with local raw materials. 6. Sensitization of local communities on the value of natural, herbal products with local raw materials. 7. Presentation of the program and its results. Innovations will be used in communication activities, which will build both web platforms and tools and and in the interaction with local communities through seminars and networks of stakeholders. 8. Promotion of new innovative entrepreneurial projects into the regional business community, transformed to new business entities in the coming years. 9. Establishment of innovative small enterprises in the sector of herbs in the cross-border zone.
Expected Outputs (EN):
The expected outputs of the program are: 1. An inventory of medicinal plants in the greater region supplementing the currently existing data of the zone through Epirus to Southern Albania 2. Evaluation of active ingredients and bioactive properties of common herbs selected that are suitable for systematic use. Selected indigenous medicinal plants will be standardized in terms of quantitative and qualitative composition of the basic ingredients and of the exact beneficial bioactive properties 3. Set-up of an interactive database of cross-border herbs with their uses and main active ingredients. The database will be based on data from scientific literature of the recent years and those resulting from the present study. 4. Pilot actions promoting entrepreneurship and cultivation of herbs, including training workshops in all municipalities and pilot cultivations in Albania. 5. Actions for linking producers with herbal companies and a dynamic database of producers/herbal companies in the cross-border area.Business plans for the treatment and exploitation of medicinal plants-Study of the export potential generated by the innovative herbal medicinal plants and natural products. 6. Market research and evaluation for the innovative exploitation of selected plants for the immediate implementation by the interested entrepreneurs. 7. Pilot actions linking the herbal traditions and their natural habitat with tourism through the creation of information & exhibition centers, as well as a botanical garden. 8. Establishment of a joint bilateral platform of entrepreneurship for the cross-border zone. 9. Events and innovative actions relating to the promotion of the program such as Info-Days, a brochure, a cultivation guide, web site, informational and training videos, virtual tours etc.