Social innovation for economic and rural development
EPAM – Empreender na Fileira das PAM em Portugal, the name of a project led by ADCMoura and launched in 2011 under the National Rural Network Programme, now embodies a consolidated methodology and a set of tools to support the development of the aromatic and medicinal plants (MAP) sector in Portugal.
It acts at the levels of network animation, research and availability of information, training, internal and external promotion and representation, assuming itself as a strategic and innovative platform at the service of the agents of the sector.
One of the foundations of the EPAM process is the promotion of collaborative solutions, with a view to the development of business and of the sector in general, between producers, between these and other agents in the sector (researchers, processing companies, technical specialists, etc.), between public bodies and companies, present in all the initiatives proposed, whether on the field, such as Local Meetings and Workshops, or in the so-called “virtual world”, namely through this website.
The epam.pt website
This virtual platform, pioneer in Portugal in addressing the issue of MAP from an entrepreneur’s perspective, is also a collaborative tool in which agents in the sector are invited to participate in various ways, namely:
- registering your business – when already in the production phase – on the Map of Producers Mapa de Produtores –Â formulĂˇrio
- publicising your Research projects on the R&D pageÂ PĂˇgina sobre I&DÂ –Â formulĂˇrio
- sending information on news and events (workshops, fairs, technical seminars, etc.), documentation, interesting links, etc. – email
- putting questions and opinions to debate in the FĂłrumÂ or in the comment spaces in each published article.
- sending suggestions for articles and content to be incorporated into the site – Â email
- contributing to its evaluation – formulĂˇrios
The epam website is a wide-ranging communication tool, recognised for its important contribution to the access to specialised knowledge and information, for the qualification of national production and for the visibility of the sector, both nationally and internationally.
The journey, since 2009
Dating back to 2002, the first professional course on production and processing of MAP held by ADCMoura, which was followed by initiatives to enhance the floristic heritage through community projects developed in schools in the municipality of Moura, it was, however, in March 2009 that a permanent, strategic and widely participated work began, in favour of sustainable development of the MAP value chain in Portugal. The key pieces of this nationwide work (and that we now frame in what we call the EPAM process) are the projects:
- MEDISS – MEDiterranĂ©e Innovation Senteurs Saveurs (MED/ FEDER) | 2009-2012
- EPAMÂ â€“ Empreender na Fileira das PAM em Portugal (PRRN/ FEADER) | 2012-2014
- ADLA â€“ AcĂ§Ăµes para o Desenvolvimento do Grande Lago Alqueva, in which ADCMoura is a partner, with an intervention linked to boosting the network “Aromas & Flavours” of the Lands of Great Lake Alqueva â€śAromas & Saboresâ€ť das Terras do Grande Lago Alqueva (POCTEP/ FEDER) | 2012-2015
- Formar para a ProduĂ§ĂŁo de Plantas AromĂˇticas e Medicinais (PRRN/ FEADER) | 2014-2015
- Various Vocational Training Courses and Modular Training funded (POPH/ FSE) and courses for entrepreneurs (in a partnership with the Terra Plena company and PAM producers) | 2009-2015
- Organisation of a Portuguese delegation of PAM Bio to the Salon TECH&BIO (Valence, France) | 2015, 2017, 2019, 2021
- Herbartis â€“ Adult training on handicraft production of medicinal and aromatic plants (Erasmus +/ FSE) | 2015-2017
- Inov@sfileiras (PDR2020) | 2017-2019
- AGROPOL (DG AGRI) | colaboration 2017-2018
- RurAction – Social Entrepreneurship in Structurally Weak Rural Regions: Analysing Innovative Troubleshooters in Actionâ€ť (Horizon2020 – Marie Curie) | 2017-2020
- Elaboration of a Study on the PAMs in Alentejo (Provere/ CM AlmodĂ´var) | Dez 2018
- Internationalisation of wild resources InternacionalizaĂ§ĂŁo dos Recursos Silvestres (Alentejo2020), liderado por NERBE-AEBAL | 2018-2020
- Reporting and organisation of activities in the PAM sector (COOPERA_RS, Esdime) | 2019-2020
- CCPAM -Competence Centre on Aromatic, Medicinal and Culinary Plants (PDR2020) | 2019-2020
- COOP4PAM – Cooperar para Crescer no Sector das PAM PT/ES (POCTEP) | 2019-2022
More than a hundred activities on the PAM theme (actividades no tema das PAM) were organised in the scope of these projects and other specific initiatives, including Local and National Meetings of Producers, Workshops, Seminars, Technical Visits, Exhibitions, Working Groups, Promotional Actions, in Portugal, France, Italy, Spain, England, Germany and Belgium, totalling more than 3000 participations by agents of the sector.
As a result of this experience, ADCMoura/EPAM was invited to join the Mediterranean network CEDDEM – Centre d’Etude et de DĂ©veloppement Durable EuromĂ©diterranĂ©en, the European association EUROPAM – European Herbs Growers Association and the national network CCPAM – Centre for Competence on Aromatic, Medicinal and Culinary Plants (https://ccpam.pt) , which now chairs.