VN medicinal herbs have potential to expand in Japan

There is a large potential to increase the export of medicinal herbs to Japan while several Japanese pharmaceutical companies are eyeing up herbs from Việt Nam, according to the Việt Nam Trade Office in Japan.

The trade office pointed out that Japan imported several medicinal herbs from Việt Nam, such as hemp, black garlic, black pepper, anise, cinnamon, ginger, turmeric and sesame seed, citing statistics from Japanese customs that Việt Nam exported medicinal herbs worth about US$8.6 million to Japan in 2021.

However, Việt Nam held a modest market share of medicinal herbs in Japan, just around 1.1 per cent of Japan’s total medicinal herb imports.

This provided significant opportunities for Việt Nam to expand the export of medicinal herbs to Japan – the second-largest importer of medicinal herbs in the worth.

Việt Nam’s Trade Counselor in Japan, Tạ Đức Minh, told Việt Nam News Agency that Việt Nam has an abundant supply of medicinal herbs with more than 5,100 species of plants with medicinal use. However, Việt Nam’s export of medicinal herbs remained modest compared to its potential.

The good news was that some Japanese pharmaceutical companies are interested in buying medicinal herbs from Việt Nam, Minh said.

Nguyễn Văn Giáp, director of Hasu No Hana Joint Stock Company which was the distributor of some Japanese pharmaceutical companies such as JPS Pharmaceutical and Nikko Pharmaceutical in Việt Nam, said that Japan’s demand for importing raw medicinal materials was very high. At the same time, the potential supply from Việt Nam was abundant.

Giáp said that his company was finding ways to promote exporting Vietnamese raw medicinal materials to Japan.

According to Minh, China held a dominant market share of medicinal herbs in Japan. However, this did not mean there was no room for Việt Nam to expand the export of medicinal herbs to the market.

Makoto Tamura, director of the Tochigi Plant of JPS, was quoted by Việt Nam News Agency as saying that the company planned to expand sources of import from other countries, including Việt Nam.

As Japan has strict requirements for medicinal herbs, Vietnamese producers and exporters need to pay attention to all production stages to ensure quality, from plantation area planning to processing and preservation, according to the director.

The problem is that the plantation of medicinal plants remained scattered. The development programme for the pharmaceutical industry and domestically produced herbal ingredients until 2030 set the goal of building eight areas for sustainable exploitation of natural medicinal herbs and two to five large-scale plantation areas.

Minh said Việt Nam needed to focus on developing the production chain with deep processing to increase efficiency.

He added that policies were necessary to attract large enterprises to pour investment into building large-scale pharmaceutical production and processing centres.

Attention must be paid to developing plantation areas to ensure the quality of medicinal herbs. Traceability is also of considerable importance. — VNS