The Philippine natural health products (NHP) industry envisions itself to be sustainable, inclusive, and globally competitive, known for the dedication and passion of its stakeholders in consistently providing safe, innovative, superior quality, effective and affordable natural health products that nurture both people and animal’s health in every market served.
In line with this vision, the industry is determined to build a unique range of natural health products through the effective and efficient use of the country’s natural resources. This effort is directed toward continuous improvement, and with respect for diversity and active involvement of all stakeholders through strong forward and backward industry linkages. With the adoption of technologies and processes at par with other countries, the industry will be known for producing superior quality, safe, effective and affordable natural health products, and will be committed to creating jobs, empowering and giving equal economic opportunity and uplifting the condition of small Filipino farmers and farmholders especially in the countryside.
Towards this, the industry intends to adopt, harmonize and align the proposed Philippine NHP standards and certification systems with international standards; initiate a National Research and Development Agenda for Philippine NHP; design a strategic NHP Raw Material and Production Master Plan; conduct continuous product development; identify and target possible markets through consolidated strategic marketing programs for each of the indentified export markets; and build the capacity of relevant industry stakeholders.
The Philippine natural health products industry is an emerging contributor to consumer welfare and inclusive growth in the country. Providing affordable and organic sources of personal care products, it caters to a niche market which can expand through developments in its supply chain management, production technologies and research and development. In the medium to long-term, the industry envisions itself to be a leading research and development center of natural health products in the ASEAN region, contributing to the country’s economic development and job generation.
One of the biggest global trends in the past 20 years has been the growing interest in health and well-being. It has become increasingly important to consumers to improve both their own health and the environment they live in. Natural and organic household and home care products that include cleaners, surface, laundry and dish cleaners, pet food, flowers and linens and fibers are becoming more in demand by consumers who are interested in their health and well-being, inducing more job opportunities in the sector.
The industry’s two core competencies are: 1) the presence of diverse natural resources and 2) the availability of land and the natural condition and location of the Philippines.
In 2008 to 2011, health supplements grew by 40.35%, while personal care products increased by 34.25%. However, in 2009, these same products posted only a slight growth of 2.8% and 7.1%, respectively. The decrease for personal care products was caused by the decrease in imports by Australia and Malaysia, two of the top importers of Philippine personal care products.
Meanwhile, medicinal plants/food posted the biggest leap, growing from 13% in 2009 to 111% in 2011. The continuous annual increase in the exports of medicinal plants/food can be attributed to the increase in demand of raw materials brought about by the increasing demand for organic and natural health products in the world market.
At present, multinational and local companies cater to the expanding demand of the domestic and international markets, with 85% belonging to the micro, small and medium-scale enterprise (MSME) category and 15% classified as large-scale. Products can be categorized into two: natural ingredients (i.e. essential oils, extracts, semi-processed and plant parts) in the upstream, and finished products (i.e. herbal medicines, traditional medicines, cosmetics, health supplements, green fertilizers and pesticides, household and homecare products, and veterinary/animal products) in the downstream.
With the Traditional and Alternative Medicine Act (TAMA Law), the Philippine Institute of Traditional and Alternative Health Care (PITAHC) is created. Attached with the Department of Health, PITAHC is mandated to plan and carry out research and development activities and to transfer economically viable technologies for the development of Philippine traditional and alternative health care.
PITAHC is also tasked to formulate policies that will stimulate and sustain the industry through public awareness campaign/education, develop continuing training programs for the medical practitioners (e.g. physicians, nurses, pharmacists, etc.) and to coordinate with other institutions and agencies involved in the research on herbal medicines.
Executive Order 302, s. 2004, declared and adopted the Philippine Pharmacopeia as the Official Book of Standards and Reference for Pharmaceutical Products and Crude Plant Drugs in the Philippines.
The Philippine Pharmacopeia (PP) 1st edition April 2004 and any supplement is the official book of the standards and references for the determination of the identity, purity, and quality of pharmaceutical products and crude plant drugs in the Philippines.
DTI has supported the development of the industry through various opportunities in trade shows and business missions. For example, the Center for International Trade Expositions Mission (CITEM) organizes BIOSEARCH, an annual trade fair for herbal products.
The Bureau of Export Trade and Promotions helps MSMEs in introducing their products to foreign markets (i.e. Middle East, Europe and North America) through the Offshore Business Mission Program.
Finally, the Export Development Council provides funding assistance for MSME exporters to participate in international trade shows.
On behalf of the Philippine Natural Health Products Industry, the Chamber of Herbal Industries of the Philippines, Inc. (CHIPI) is working with the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) in crafting a research and development plan for the industry. DTI and CHIPI is also set to meet on the establishment of the Philippine Natural Health Products and Business Development Center and selection of 10 champion Natural Health Products.
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