Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc addresses the conference (Photo: VNA)
Lao Cai (VNA) – Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has urged ministries, sectors and localities to seek measures to promote traditional herbal medicines, thus taking advantage of the country’s potential in the field.

Addressing a teleconference with leaders of 63 cities and provinces nationwide held in the northern province of Lao Cai on April 12, the PM noted that for thousands of years, Vietnam has used herbal medicines to protect people’s health.

With three quarters of its natural area being mountains and forests, Vietnam has more than 5,000 precious herbal plants with medicinal values, which are a great advantage for localities to exploit the resources for domestic use and exports, he said.

PM Phuc affirmed that traditional medicines are a treasure of the country, which can contribute to poverty reduction and prosperity.

He asked for solutions to tackle problems facing the sector, including poor planning in  developing production chains that leads to low effectiveness and small-scale production as well as difficulties in markets, risk of extinction of many rare herbal plants and limited research and use of advanced technology in the field.

The government leader also suggested support policies for herbal plant growing as part of high technology agriculture development, while stressing the need to ensure confidentiality of some rare and precious herbal plants.
According to the Institute of Medicinal Materials, Vietnam has 5,117 herbal plants and fungus, along with 408 species of animals and minerals used as materials for nearly 1,300 traditional remedies.

The domestic demand for herbal medicinal materials is about 60,000-80,000 tonnes per year, mostly for producing foods, medicines and cosmetics.

The Ministry of Health assessed that the economic value of herbal plants is much higher than other food plants, suggesting that sustainable growing will help reduce poverty for many regions across the country.-VNA