Currently, the value of global herbal market for nutraceuticals is at USD 70 billion and USD 20 billion for phytomedicines with an average growth rate between 15 to 20 percent annually. While the Malaysia herbal market is valued at RM 4.55 billion 0f which 90 percent of the raw material used was imported. It is with this potential in mind that Malaysia’s herbal industry can be one of the agriculture Entry Point Projects under the National Key Economic Areas in the Economic Transformation Programme. According to the Agriculture and Agro-Based Industry Minister Datuk Seri Noh Omar, Malaysia's fast growing herbal industry is expected to contribute about RM2.2 billion to Gross National Product (GNP) by 2020.While the world market for herbal products is expected to exceed RM2 trillion by 2020 from RM777 billion in 2009, the local herbal market was likely to grow 15 percent annually from RM7 billion in 2010 to about RM29 billion by 2020.
Moreover, Malaysia has been listed as the 12th most biodiversity nation in the world and ranks fourth in Asia. We have over 15,000 flowering plants and over 3000 species of medicinal plants in our rich biodiversity tropical rainforest. Of these about 200 are being used as herbal remedies and approximately 50 species are commonly used in traditional medicine preparation.
Furthermore, Malaysians quite familiar for the uses of herbal products as our multi-ethnic communities have been practicing traditional medicine with herbal plants for centuries. In rural area, some of them still use poultices, myriad brews and pastes derived from herbal plants or used it for the purpose of physical ailments and beauty treatments.
Therefore, upon realize the significance of herb, our government had given financial support to research work related to herbs in term of Intensified Research in Priority Areas (IRPA) grants, the focus areas by the National Biotechnology Directorate, as well as other grant schemes. For