Materia Medica Malaysiana

May 9, 2008

All-out plan to make Malaysia herbal hub

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 11:40 am

NST: KUALA LUMPUR: The government has drafted an action plan to enhance the growth of the herbal and biotechnology industry, which is estimated to be worth about RM2.5 billion by 2010.
Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Douglas Unggah said medicinal plants had been identified as one of the main commodities to make Malaysia a centre for herbal product development and a supplier of raw materials for industrial use.
“This is in line with the government’s initiative to transform the forestry field and to find non-timber resources.”
Douglas, in his speech read by his deputy Datuk Maznah Mazlan at the launch of “Herbal Asia 2008” at the Matrade Exhibition and Convention Centre, said the government was confident that as one of the mega-biodiversity nations, Malaysia had the potential and the resources to be among the leading global players in the herbal industry.
“We acknowledge the potential of developing some of the traditional remedies based on traditional knowledge into commercial products.”
He said the ever-expanding market for herbal products had also increased demand for raw materials.
In many developing countries, Douglas said, this surge of demand for herbal medicine had been met by indiscriminate and spontaneous harvesting of flora, including those in the forest. As a result, many plant species have been lost and some faced extinction.
He said Malaysia, as one of the leading producers of sustainable timber products, was aware of such danger and was putting in place appropriate policies and programmes to prevent such a situation.
To ensure continuous supply of raw material as well as reducing the pressure on the natural forests, the Forest Research Institute Malaysia had also developed a pilot project in Maran, Pahang, to cultivate tongkat ali and kacip fatimah.
Douglas said such research and development was necessary to ensure medicinal plants conformed to physical and chemical standards.
“I hope the herbal industry will adopt the prescribed integrated approach, which includes the application of modern scientific methods in the selection, cultivation and manufacture of proven herbal medicines. Only through such an approach can we transform traditional trade into modern industrial practices.”

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