I. Herbs for Growth (HEGO)
Project countries (Greece, Moldova, Georgia and Armenia) share a rich biodiversity and endemism of herb plant species, as well as an interconnected herbal medicine and food historical tradition. However, the overexploitation of wild growing endangered and endemic herb plant species, due to the inappropriate collection methods from the wild and the rapidly growing demand for herb products to 2025 (according to recent studies), resulted to an unsustainable wild growing herbs utilization as well as production efficiency. The unsustainable and doubtful economic future of local people in areas with rich biodiversity, like mountainous population in Project countries, is the bottom line of these environmental and socio-economic risks. The significant positive impact of the HEGO Project will be the change of the production model for herb products in all Project countries, which will lead to the positive effect on improving the economic and business performance of the herb sector and indirectly on contributing to the biodiversity conservation of endemic herb plant species, with the sustainable utilization in Project countries.
The HEGO Project will address to the above mentioned common challenges by developing training tools and by applying them in activities:
- Informing and educating farmers for reducing collecting herbs form the wild and promoting agricultural diversified new cultivations with improved trade value added products (endangered and endemic herb plant species for processed products);
- Informing and educating farmers on how to adapt to new challenges in farming entrepreneurship, trade and product quality with reference to herb products;
- Establishing and promoting “research to business” networking linkages among research organizations and relevant enterprises with reference to the improved value of herbs, especially for endemic species, having potential markets in Food industry, Pharmacy and Cosmetics;
- Establishing and promoting multi-lateral cross-border and international trade links for herb products produced in BSB countries participating in the proposed Project using ICT and Marketing and Branding Strategies;
- Improving the access of agricultural enterprises in granting and investment schemes as well as in initiatives for the creation of clusters in agricultural sector.