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Local Herbal Industry Expected To Grow 8-15 Percent Annually

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 14 (Bernama) -- The herbal industry in Malaysia, expected to


reach almost RM10 billion in market value this year, is likely to grow eight to 15
percent annually based on the growing acceptance of natural medicine.
During an economic downturn, herbal medication is a more acceptable alternative for
consumers due to the lower cost when compared to modern medicine, said chairman and
founder of Global Bio-Herbs Economic Forum Council, Datuk Yeat Sew Chuong.
Stating that the herbal industry is an anti-crisis industry, Yeat said it has been growing
steadily in recent years, from about RM7 billion in 2006 to RM9 billion last year.
He was speaking to reporters today in conjunction with the Second Global Bio-Herbs
Economic Forum starting here tomorrow. The three-day forum will be launched by
Health Minister Datuk Liow Tiong Lai.
Expected to draw 3,000 local and overseas participants, the forum will be presenting
various topics and issues on the bio-herbs industry as well as business networking
sessions.
It will also be a platform for industry players to widen their network, exchange ideas
and showcasing the latest health products from China, the United States, the Philippines,
Hong Kong, Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore and Vietnam.
To support the local herbal industry growth, Yeat said efforts were needed now to spur
local enterprises in tapping the huge potential of the industry.
He said the government should also identify the industry as a potential growth area to
develop small and medium entrepreneurs (SMEs) as the global herbal industry is
projected to worth US$5 trillion by 2050 from US$200 billion currently.
"Local SMEs are mostly involved in low value-added activities such as processing dried
plant materials for herbal powders and fermentation for medicinal tonics," Yeat said.
"In order for them to broaden their market, they need to move up the value chain by
upgrading their production to a higher level of technology," he said, adding that
currently, over 1,000 local companies are involved in the industry.
Due to lack of scientific evidence and research on safety, efficacy and standardisation of
herbal products, Asean countries have lost their share of the global industry worth
US$200 billion.
Of the global market, Yeat said Germany led with 28 percent market share while Asean

accounted for 18 percent and Japan has about 13 percent.


Despite herbal usage being common in Asia, he said the acceptance rate in the region
was low at only eight percent of the total population in Asia compared to up to 20
percent in some Western countries.
According to him, the higher acceptance rate is due to the public being aware of the
importance of natural medicine in maintaining their health as well as the high level of
research and development, safety and branding involved in the herbal products.
He added to encourage the public to use natural herbal products, industry players are
encouraged to have 3G -- good agriculture practices, good manufacturing practices and
good laboratory practices.
Yeat, who is also chief executive officer of INS Bioscience Bhd which produces herbal
health supplements under the Easy Pha-max brand name, said opportunities were
available for Malaysia to produce halal herbal products.
"Malaysia has huge herbal resources and hence there are good opportunities to supply to
the 1.3 billion Muslims worldwide," he said.
-- BERNAMA
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