The collection of wild plants and parts thereof, growing naturally in natural areas, forests and agricultural areas has been a traditional human activity for millennia and remains still alive and popular in most European countries.
MINI PAPER 5: WILD COLLECTION: RECOMMENDATIONS TO AVOID OVEREXPLOITATION AND TO PROMOTE SUSTAINABLE USE OF WILD RESOURCES.
EIP-AGRI FOCUS GROUP 35
According to the EIP-AGRI Focus Group Plant-based medicinal and cosmetic products, increasing demand of consumers in different sectors concerning herbal products and herbal raw materials can be observed, and wild-collected plants are also part of this demand.
In Mini paper 5, it is suggested that wild plant collection is very labour-intensive and the availability of a workforce is key for the development and continuity of the sector. Especially large-scale wild plant collection thereby relies on the availability of people who are willing to harvest the intended plant material. Moreover, the growing demand is an opportunity for small enterprises, local collectors and producers, among others, who can enter the market or diversify their existing offers.
A relevant issue is that there is no official recognition of the profession of “wild herb collector” in Europe. We can all have an idea about what this profession means, but according to Good Agricultural and Collection Practices (GACP), a wild herb collector should be a well-trained person both in recognition of and rules of sustainable collection. Sustainability has great relevance, since wild plants growth should be preserved in the long term, and usually there is no human intervention in their growth, making them more dependent on environmental wealth and biodiversity.
Despite existing guidelines, there is still a considerable gap between knowledge and implementation of sustainable practices in wild plants collections. According to WHO-GACP and EMA-GACP, “all people working in this field should have adequate botanical training”, and here is where the WildMAPsFiT project comes into play, focusing on wild medicinal and aromatic plants (MAPs) sustainable processes.
To design adequate training for wild MAPs collectors and producers, a questionnaire was designed to collect training needs informed by the relevant stakeholders working in the wild MAPs sector, as well as skills to be learnt and/or enhanced. After several collection and analysis activities with stakeholders, curricula will be developed based on Open Educational Resources (OERs), in a user-friendly format and available for all wild MAPs professionals interested in being trained.
Collaborate with us to design the best training for sustainable practices for the wild MAPs sector, completing our questionnaire developed in 5 languages and available here!