Our Workshop on Transformation from Raw Materials to Health and Trade in Medicinal Plants Started with a Great Participation

Organized by Afyonkarahisar Health Sciences University (AFSU) Technology Transfer Office in cooperation with Ankara University and Ege University, the 6th Medicinal and Aromatic Plants Workshop, started with the opening session. The theme was “Transformation from Raw Materials to Health and Trade in Medicinal Plants” and the special session in which the establishment of a medicinal and aromatic plants exchange in Afyonkarahisar was consulted, had a great participation from the provincial and non-provincial protocol.

Afyonkarahisar Governor Gökmen Çiçek, Deputies Veysel Eroğlu, İbrahim Yurdunuseven, Ali Özkaya, Mayor Mehmet Zeybek, our Rector Prof. Dr. Nurullah Okumuş, Ankara University Rector Prof. Dr. Necdet Ünüvar, Ege University Rector Prof. Dr. Necdet Budak, Afyon Kocatepe University Rector Prof. Dr. Mehmet Karakaş, academics, industry representatives, business people, bureaucrats and members of the press attended the opening of the two-day event at Korel Thermal Hotel.

In a large hall where the necessary conditions and seating arrangement were provided within the framework of the pandemic measures, in the opening speeches that started after the moment of silence and the singing of the National Anthem, our Rector Prof. Dr. Nurullah Okumuş is had a speech.

Prof. Dr. Nurullah Okumuş: “We have to transform the experience and momentum about the field into concrete and sustainable products.”

Prof. Dr. Okumuş stated that the workshop was focused on both the use of medicinal plants in health and production, sales and distribution within the framework of its theme, he said: “There is a subject that everyone in this room knows, but I think we all have difficulty in explaining effectively, that is, in forming public opinion: Our country has a rich geography in terms of medicinal and aromatic plants, but we have not been able to turn this richness into capital and social benefit in a strong and rational way. The aim of our workshop is to bring together the academic community, decision makers and producers to provide them share their visions and projects regarding the field; to show solutions to problems.”.

Prof. Dr. Okumuş said “We have to transform the experience and momentum in the field into real and sustainable products.” and added, “to evaluate the real economic dimension of medicinal and aromatic plants used in different sectors such as food and cosmetics, especially pharmaceuticals, and to draw road maps for the use of these plants not only as raw materials but also in different product formats; to ensure that a common perspective is formed between academia, the private sector and relevant public institutions on medicinal and aromatic plants is necessary.”.

Prof. Dr. Okumuş stated that they were working with all their efforts on medicinal and aromatic plants, which was one of the main fields of study of AFSU, he continued his words as follows: “We carried out scientific studies and informative activities on medicinal and aromatic plants; We explained the importance of the issue to everyone we could reach locally and tried to mobilize it. We opened our Medicinal and Aromatic Plants Department at our university and accepted our first students. We arranged the 25 decare area on our campus as the application area of ​​the department.

Within the scope of SOGEP, we received an investment incentive of 3.18 million TL in order to establish the fully automated and most modern medical and edible mushroom research, development and production facility in our country with a closed area of ​​1500 m2. In order to use medicinal and aromatic plants in health and to turn them into products, we established our company called A-Flora and started to offer our products. With the cooperation of the Eskişehir Regional Directorate of Forestry and the Forestry Operations Directorate of our province, we have created a forest of medicinal and aromatic plants on 100 decares of land in the Fethibey region.

We had our business people planted trees, perennials and annual plants or trial plantings with medicinal and aromatic plant properties in different regions. We supported and continue to support a business person who planted amaranth plants on 300 decares of land.

We worked with the Center for Medicinal and Aromatic Plants in our city. The management of Afyonkarahisar Medicinal and Aromatic Plants Commission, which was established upon the request of our esteemed governor, was given to our university. In this context, we started scientific and technical support studies to take a picture of our province on the subject, to evaluate its capacity and diversity, to expand agricultural production, and to guide our farmers and citizens. We have developed projects within our university in order to develop products and devices for use in the field of health about the medicinal and aromatic plants, and we have supported many academicians.”

Prof. Dr. Okumuş pointed out the importance of raising awareness on medicinal and aromatic plants in Afyonkarahisar, which works hand in hand with its administrators, bureaucrats, academics and representatives, and he said that the success which will be gained from the workshop belongs to everyone who contributed to the event, , and he also thanked especially Governor Gökmen Çiçek who provided support and Prof. Dr. Veysel Eroğlu who always supported.”

Prof. Dr. Veysel Eroğlu: “We need more medicinal herbal support products in the prevention of diseases.”

After Prof. Dr. Okumuş, Ankara University Rector Prof. Dr. Necdet Ünüvar, Ege University Rector Prof. Dr. Necdet Budak, Afyonkarahisar Deputies İbrahim Yurdunuseven and Ali Özkaya were invited to the podium. They expressed their wish for a successful workshop and expressed that they would support the steps to be taken in this regard on a national and regional scale. Additionally, Prof. Dr. Veysel Eroğlu said that he was sure that the workshop would be very useful both for the sector and for the country.

Prof. Dr. Eroğlu expressed that he was very pleased to see that scientific studies that have been going on for years were now put into practice, and he said: “Although oil and energy seem to be the most important items in the current account deficit of countries, the pharmaceutical industry also causes a large current account deficit. We have understood this situation better, especially with the pandemic period we are in. In this case, how healthy are imported drugs? While a drug is a cure for a disease, when we look at the package insert of that drug, a full of page mentions its side effects. Medicines are of course necessary, but they are mostly used after illness. We need more medicinal herbal supplements for disease prevention.”

Governor Çiçek: “I hope we will get successful results.” Afyonkarahisar Governor Gökmen Çiçek took the stage last in the opening session. He stated that Afyonkarahisar was a province that produced added value, Governor Çiçek: “It is a province that exports 444 dollars against 100 dollars in imports. It produces added value with its mines, marble, thermal springs, which we all know, and 32 thousand bed capacity. It makes serious contributions to the country’s economy and is a pioneer in many issues.” said.

He emphasized that Afyonkarahisar would also make great contributions to our country in terms of medicinal and aromatic plants, and he said: “I believe that our teacher Veysel will make great contributions by taking the present day as a milestone with the studies he brought from the past. I would like to thank our rectors of Ankara University and Ege University. They really make a big difference, both in politics and bureaucracy, and with the positions they are in now.”.

Governor Çiçek expressed that they had adopted a working method, which he called the “Afyon Model”, which was carried out with the active participation of provincial administrators, and said: “With this model, we have started a study on medicinal and aromatic plants, under the leadership of our esteemed minister. There is also bureaucracy, we have the Directorate of Agriculture, we have the Directorate of Forestry, but we also have our university. We have a teacher like Nurullah Hodja who works day and night, and we established a commission. We brought our teacher Nurullah to the head of this commission. Our Honorable Minister has a nice saying, he often says out of courtesy, “I’m a soldier too”; we were each a slave to him. All our District Governors and Deputy Governors were also involved in this work. Work continues everywhere, in every field. I hope that we will get successful results.”

After the protocol speeches were completed, academic sessions were held in which the production, commercialization and use in health processes of medicinal and aromatic plants were examined under different subtitles.