FTI urges help for herb industry

FTI urges help for herb industry

A herbal powder made from fa thalai jone (andrographis paniculata).
A herbal powder made from fa thalai jone (andrographis paniculata).

The government should offer better support for herbal development and production among small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to improve their global competitiveness, part of a move to push Thailand into the top 10 for herbal medicine exports, says the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI).

Many SMEs lack funds for R&D as well as improving production and exports, said the group.

"We want to promote ease of doing business. Manufacturers of herbal products are required to go through a time-consuming process to register herb-derived medicines," said Sittichai Daengprasert, chairman of the FTI's Herbal Industry Club. "This means they are unable to compete with large herbal medicine companies on the global stage."

Most SMEs also lack know-how to promote their products and expand sales channels overseas, he said.

"If it's possible, authorities should take herbal medicine companies with them when they organise trade shows overseas," said Mr Sittichai.

These hurdles need to be overcome if Thailand wants to be among the 10 largest herbal medicine exporters in the world, noted the FTI.

The country, ranked first for herbal medicine exports in Asean, aims to be top three in Asia in five years, said the federation.

The club said Thailand's herbal market value should reach 100 billion baht by 2030.

Thailand ranks fourth in Asia for herbal product consumption, following China, Japan and South Korea, and is the seventh in the world.

The club aims to promote key local herbs, especially turmeric, black galangal and fa thalai jone (andrographis paniculata), hoping to make them national product champions, said Meatha Simavara, former chairman of the club.

"Since the pandemic, these herbs have become more popular. People have more knowledge of their properties," he said. "Many people use herbs because they don't want to take commercial medicines."

Thailand has the potential to gain a greater market share in the black galangal market overseas, but it is more difficult to compete with India and China in the turmeric and fa thalai jone markets, said Mr Meatha.

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