The First Indian Ocean Rim Association’s Meeting and Exhibition on Medicinal Plants concluded with participating countries signing the Salalah Declaration on Applied Research, Technology Transfer and Commercialization of Medicinal Plants and Herbal Medicine in the Indian Ocean Rim.
Organized by the Oman Animal and Plant Genetic Resources Center (OAPGRC) in partnership with Dhofar University and the Indian Ocean Rim Association’s Regional Centre for Science and Technology Transfer, the Salalah Declaration aims to enhance regional medicinal plant co-operation through high-profile events and annual joint activities.
Attracting over 40 from public and private sector scientists and researchers from nine countries, Dr. Nadiya Al Saady, OAPGRC’s Executive Director and co-organizer of the Salalah event, said, “Medicinal plants play an important role in today’s healthcare and pharmaceutical sectors. Oman has been blessed with over 250 reported species of medicinal plants that could play a role in treating some of the world’s current and future diseases.”
Signing the Salalah Declaration, member states agreed to improve the IORA Medicinal Plants Network through regular meetings and training programs. Kamburawala Kankanamge and Don Somathilaka Ranaweera of Sri Lanka’s Bandaranaike Memorial Ayurveda Research Institute, India’s Anil Kumar Tripathi of the CSIR-Central Institute of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants and Ibrahim Jantan of Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia proposed to host IORA medicinal plant and herbal medicine technology meetings later this year as well as in 2015.
“Given the success of the Salalah meeting, we’ve agreed to hold this conference and exhibition annually and in a different IORA country each year. Representatives from Egypt, Thailand and the Seychelles have already expressed interest in hosting future IORA medicinal plant events,” remarked the OAPGRC Executive Director.
As part of the Declaration, an IORA Medicinal Plants and Herbal Medicine Standards Committee has been established and will be chaired by Dr. Anil Kumar Tripathi of India’s CSIR-Central Institute of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants with members from Oman, Malaysia, Iran, Thailand, the Seychelles, Sri Lanka and Egypt. The committee will draw up IORA certification standards for the commercialization of medicinal plants and related technology.
Hosts of the event, Dhofar University, has agreed to collaborate with India’s CSIR-Central Institute of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants on developing biodiversity and conservation research and academic programs with a specific focus on Dhofari medicinal plants. University personnel also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Exir Gol Sorkh, Zardband Pharmaceuticals, Rosepharmed Biotechnology, Magnolia Flavor & Fragrance, Kimiagar Toos, Goldarou and Iran Darouk to collaborate on developing and transferring herbal medicine production methods.
Dr. Al Saady concluded by saying: “This was an extremely important and highly successful meeting. We were able to extend medicinal plant co-operation among the Indian Ocean Rim Association’s twenty member states. We were also able to connect with the business community who provided the all-important commercial perspective on the medicinal plant market. Indeed, the popularity of medicinal plant medicines is increasing at a significant rate. Today, it is a US$60 billion industry and global demand is growing at 8 – 10% annually. We look forward to developing private sector ties that will further enhance the conservation and commercialization of medicinal plants and herbal medicines in the IORA region.”