FBCCI standing committee has demanded formation of a separate cell in Drug Administration for development of herbal and Unani industry in Bangladesh.
According to the World Health Organization, 80 percent of people in some Asian countries and in Africa are still dependent on Unani, homeopathy and herbal remedies for diseases.
The speakers presented the information at the first meeting of the FBCCI's Standing Committee on Export and Development of Herbal, Unani Medicine and Natural Products.
The meeting was held at the office of Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) on Wednesday.
They said the industry is shrinking despite making significant contributions to the country's healthcare system.
The entrepreneurs demanded the formation of a separate cell in drug administration for the development of the industry.
They said the global market for herbal and Unani products is $141 billion and is growing at a rate of 10 percent every year.
According to the committee members, these products are considered as dietary supplements or food supplements all over the world.
But it is becoming difficult to export these products as they are considered drugs in Bangladesh, they said.
The members of the committee claimed that it would be easier to solve the problems if a separate cell is formed in the Drug Administration. The meeting informed that 90 percent raw materials of Unani and herbal products have to be imported.
It, therefore, recommended the establishment of herbal gardens in fallow lands or in economic zones as a public or public-private joint venture.
The speakers said that the massive cultivation of medicinal plants would reduce import dependence and also bring export opportunities.
Entrepreneurs also demanded the inclusion of Unani and herbal medicine in the medical college’s curriculum.
FBCCI senior vice president Mostofa Azad Chowdhury Babu was present as the chief guest at the meeting.
He said the FBCCI is keen to develop this industry. He requested the committee to make a recommendation on the potentials of the industry and the possible solutions to the problems, which the FBCCI would discuss with the concerned government agencies.
Director in Charge of the Committee and director of FBCCI Md. Rezaul Islam Milon proposed organising a seven-day fair in every district of the country to promote Unani and herbal products. This fair would increase people's confidence in these products, he added. Raquib Mohammad Fakhrul, chairman of the committee, said a sub-committee would be formed to work out a strategy for the development of the Unani industry.
Former deputy minister and chairman of Munshi Group A. F. M Fakhrul Islam Munshi was also present at the meeting.
He said there are separate ministries in different countries for the Unani industry. “Bangladesh should take the same initiative.”
FBCCI secretary general Mohammad Mahfuzul Haque also attended the meeting.