The 6th Medicinal and Aromatic Plants Workshop, organized by Afyonkarahisar Health Sciences University Technology Transfer Office (AFSU-TTO) in cooperation with Ankara University and Ege University, ended with group meetings, entrepreneur talks and the presentation of the final reports of the working groups.
In line with the theme of “Transformation from Raw Materials to Health and Trade in Medicinal Plants”, our Rector Prof. Dr. Nurullah Okumuş and the President’s Special Representative for Iraq and Afyonkarahisar Deputy Prof. Dr. Veysel Eroğlu made speeches.
In his speech, prof. dr. Okumuş said that he was very happy to have successfully completed the workshop, which was held with great devotion and intense participation in all sessions and working group meetings.
Expressing that he is proud to share the same concerns and hopes with many competent academicians and business representatives in the field of medicinal and aromatic plants, which he believes in its importance and has a special interest in, Prof. Dr. Okumuş said, “We have a lot of shortcomings, but I think we are on a good track.”
Principle Decision Taken for Afyonkarahisar Medicinal and Aromatic Plants Exchange
Stating that in the reports of the working groups, clearer ideas emerged when compared to previous studies, Prof. Dr. Okumuş stated that they will publish the workshop report as a book and share it with the public as soon as possible.
Prof. Dr. Okumuş said: “The most basic issue in this issue, which has many dimensions such as good agricultural practices, standardization, certification, appropriate region selection, and correct plant selection; to be organized, to become cooperative and in any case to establish a stock exchange for this business, as we started to do in Afyonkarahisar with the encouragement of our esteemed governor and minister. Now we have come to this point.
In our opening speech, we said that we would hold a special meeting with our provincial administrators within the scope of the workshop and give you good news.In the meeting we held, I hope, the principle decision was reached on the establishment of the medicinal and aromatic plants exchange in Afyonkarahisar. Our Exchange Commodity said it would support us in this regard. As AFSU, we will provide technical support. Our Chamber of Commerce and our governor will support us in this regard.
Accordingly, the existing infrastructure should be organized to include medicinal and aromatic plants or under a separate heading. Of course, at this point, local political support and will is very important. We are very happy that this was put forward at yesterday’s meeting.
So, what will the stock market bring? The stock market will solve most of the problems here.
Our farmer will know what to produce. He will know where to throw it, how to sell it, how much to sell it.
More importantly, we are talking about standardization, certification, the right product, a quality product.
When you try to sell products in the stock market, you will see that there are forty-odd varieties of mint or thyme. You will have to enter whichever subtype of these is there.
When you enter, you will enter there with an analysis report obtained from approved laboratories. What will this bring? It will increase the quality. It will ensure that the product of those who do the right work, those who do good work, and those who work honestly, will make money.
Medicinal and Aromatic Plants Commission Implements Regional Action Management Planning in Afyonkarahisar
As a suggestion in the speeches made here, it was said that regional action management plans should be made.
We are making an example of this in Afyonkarahisar. A Medicinal and Aromatic Plants Commission was established in our province by our governorship and its chairmanship was given to our university.
Just like you said, we’re going on a county-by-county basis. We are sitting there with the mayor, the district governor and the breeders; We are trying to take a photo by asking what are you doing, what are the records in your hand?
We hope to publish a report on this as well. This study, which we have done in Afyonkarahisar, should be expanded throughout the country.
One statement in the final reports caught my attention; Evaluation of wastes of medicinal and aromatic plants.
This is really important. Here, unfortunately, we only get what we want, we do not use the rest. The amaranth plant can be used from the root to the top. You can use the seed as flour or for oil. You can use the active ingredients in it. You can make tea from its leaves, you can wrap leaves, and you can use its trunk and branches as animal feed. The protein content is very high. That’s why we need to look at these products holistically.
Starchy Washing Water Will Also Be Used In The Facility To Produce Ethyl Alcohol From Potatoes
In Afyonkarahisar, we have an example that we realized for the first time in our country. While there is ethyl alcohol production from wheat and sugar beet, an investor in our country is currently establishing a facility that will produce five million liters of ethyl alcohol from potatoes in cooperation with the university-private sector.
Potatoes are already used in many places, but we paid attention to an inconspicuous point; In factories where potatoes are processed, the peels are used in the feed industry, but there is also starch in the washing water there. We found starch in 13 to 21 percent wash water. We will also use this water in the new facility. We need to prevent this from being thrown into nature unnecessarily.
We have an incredible cistus leakage in our country. We use it profusely. Quite frankly, many things such as thyme, salep plant, orchid are being smuggled out and stolen. Unfortunately, they don’t have enough control. Since we still cannot brand Turkish thyme, it is sold as Greek thyme. This is the case with many plants. We need to protect.
We have a lot of complaints about the legislation. Product development, clinical studies, phase studies, etc. In fact, one of our biggest problems is this: we have a serious problem in the field of medicine. Regrettably, the legislature is before us. Remove slots and prioritization, at least for traditional herbal product or medicinal herbal medicine; At least we have an expectation that we will pave the way in this area.
A Certification is Required to Access Seed Information
Certification is very important. Whether it is online or through pharmacies, it is necessary to ensure that every product is sold with a certificate. You will say that even many seeds do not have certificates, everyone is planting whatever they can. At least, it is enough to write what kind it is, where and by whom it was produced.
In fact, it is necessary to go to a certification that will reach as far as seed information. A product comes out, they can even copy its barcode and imitate it. But if you lie abroad once, twice, for the third time, the doors will close in your face. We absolutely need to implement, adopt and assimilate certification practices. Otherwise, if we see the situation as the chicken that lays the golden egg, I think we will lose this chicken in a very short time.
It is said that incentives should be made… I do not agree with this. I don’t know if there is any other country in the world where agricultural production is encouraged by the state as much as Turkey. We learned about the new incentives of the National Real Estate and the Ministry of Agriculture. If we want to do something, there is land and there is seed; There are plants and there are seedlings. All that remains is to produce. I think we need to encourage ourselves a little bit.
With the support and encouragement of so many beautiful people and scientists, we organize more workshops, but let’s do it as a product now, let’s do it as it comes to the last point, I hope. I would like to thank everyone who contributed and supported our workshop.”
It is necessary to return to the method of production with a purchase guarantee, not piecemeal
Making an evaluation speech at the closing of the workshop, President of the Republic of Turkey Special Representative for Iraq and Afyonkarahisar Deputy Prof. Dr. Veysel Eroğlu said that in the process from the first workshop to the sixth workshop, a lot of progress has been made in the field.
Thanking everyone, especially AFSU staff and academics, who prepared, participated and supported the workshop, Prof. Dr. Eroğlu pointed out the importance of the workshops in creating a general awareness about the use of plants in health, which was once perceived as a folk medicine.
Emphasizing that there is a great awakening regarding the importance of medicinal and aromatic plants both in the public, in the private sector and at the government levels, Prof. Dr. Eroğlu continued his words as follows: “Is this awakening enough? Not. What should we do? We did a good job in the special session on the first day of the workshop. We decided to establish a medicinal and aromatic plants exchange in Afyonkarahisar. This needs to be supported.
My rector just mentioned it. If you want land, National Real Estate gives it, if you want incentives, relevant institutions give it. So there is no land and incentive problem. At this point, it is necessary to explain to the citizens that where and what they produce will be more profitable. Also, it is necessary to return to the production method with purchase guarantee, not piecemeal.
Three years ago, I invited the Chinese Ambassador to Afyonkarahisar, he came. Subsequently, the managers of 100 large companies from China came. They had demands from us. But none of our companies had the capacity to meet their demands. So we need to plan it well. The stock market is necessary for this. A good program is essential. We have to do this. For example, we need to focus on marketing as well as production. I think we need to think about this issue. It is possible to market our vegetable assets as raw materials, semi-finished products or finished products.
In terms of the interests of the nation and the development of the country, the issues discussed in this workshop and the recommendations made should be presented to the relevant parties. For this, I recommend forming a committee and following the issue. I would like to take part in this delegation. The workshop report should be published as soon as possible. Thus, we can see the point we have reached more clearly.
I benefited a lot from this workshop. I hope we will do the seventh, but more prepared; Let’s see what was done after this sixth workshop, which institutions were contacted, what happened, what didn’t happen and why it didn’t happen. See me as a soldier in this regard. I am ready to help you wherever you go, to whom you apply. During my ministry, I was throwing the man who said, “Sir, we have written” by the arm. Writing is deceiving the relevant supervisor. The main thing is to follow, to conclude.
It was an offer from the rector of Ege University. Since these workshops have become a tradition of Afyonkarahisar, we decided to continue this on the 100th anniversary of our city’s liberation in 2022 and hold an international congress in İzmir in 2023. I hope there will be an opportunity to come together at these meetings as well.”
After the speeches, the workshop ended with the presentation of plaques to the event sponsors and a photo shoot to commemorate the day.