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Kuala Lumpur: The government has highlighted several core strategies for the country's economic growth in order to achieve the standard of a developed country by 2020.This includes the introduction of the 12 National Key Economic Areas.This also meant that it was a timely decision of the Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development Institute (Mardi) to give special focus to herb research as a new form of agricultural commodity.In carrying out its responsibility of developing the nation's agricultural sector, Mardi has now adopted the approach of developing herbal crops with the potential to be turned into a commodity in the future.
Noh therefore proposed that farmers cultivate herbs or mixed crops on a large-scale basis, in order to achieve the nation's Agriculture NKEA goal.
Its export value has increased eight-fold to RM16 million in 2002 from RM2 million in 1990.
It is only natural then for the Forest Research Institute of Malaysia (FRIM), as a government agency, to continue developing its Natural Products Division since 1995.
In the beginning, the herb EPP1 was focused on the commercialisation of five types of herbs with the aim of producing high-value products totalling RM2.2 billion of the Gross National Income (GNI).
The five herbs are Tongkat Ali, Kacip Fatimah, Misai Kucing, Hempedu Bumi and Dukung Anak.
About a decade ago, discussions on the estimated value of commercial herbal products in the country revolved only around RM45 million.