Brief Background on Global Trade in Herbal Raw Materials: 2000-2007

Herbal raw materials industry in Malaysia has great potential for growth   with the growing  demand for herbal ingredients in manufacturing of products such as herbal medicines, food supplements, personal care and perfumery. Local herbal industry in this country is expanding and new applications are being introduced from time to time. According to the  newspaper, The Star (19 October, 2009), traditional and complementary medicine will be available at government hospitals in Sabah, Sarawak and Terengganu following the Ministry of Health’s decision to extend integrative medicine programme to these states. The decision is to extend the programme to one hospital in each state. This is due to the overwhelming response from the public to the programme which was launched three years ago. Currently, traditional and complementary medicine treatment are available at three (3) general hospitals ,i.e.,the Kepala Batas Hospital in Butterworth, Johor’s Sultan Ismail Hospital and the Putrajaya Hospital.

Imported and local raw materials  have been used  by traditional products manufacturers as well as traders and   surplus raw materials were exported to countries of destination.. There had been    trade and counter-trade for the supply of herbal raw materials  during the observed period between different countries including Malaysia.   To capture the global market, the products need  to have well-documented information on their traditional .benefits.

Based on import-export data during the period 2000 to 2007, there were great differences in quantities imported to those that were exported. The  general  observation was that the raw materials import quatities   outstripped export quantities,  and the trend was increasing from the base year to the end of the period from about 110 million kg in 2000 to about 185 million kg in 2007.See Figure 244.


1cptr9Figure 244: Malaysia: Import and Export Quantities of Herbal Raw Materials from 2000 to 2007


The difference between import and export quantities for each year increased to  a maximum of about 164 million kg in year 2004 from about 80 million kg in year 2000 and dropped to about 129 million kg in year 2007 (see Figure 245). The import and export amounts experienced  different  l quantity for each year due to several factors. These factors could arise from the release of stockpiles, changes in national policies of the recipient countries as well as consumer preferences. The trend for the differences of the import-export volumes took a  u-shaped profile with the maximum difference  in year 2004.


2cptr9Figure 245: Trend of Import and Export Differences in Quantities Traded during 2000 to 2007