By SHAHEERA AZNAM SHAH / Pic By MUHD AMIN NAHARUL
Malaysia’s bio-based industry is set to grow at a faster pace as most players have moved on from acquiring relevant technologies to producing actual goods in big volumes.
Malaysian Bioeconomy Development Corp Sdn Bhd (Bioeconomy Corp) CEO Dr Mohd Shuhaizam Mohd Zain said local bio-based companies are now ready to commercialise more of their bio-based products.
“For the past year, we have seen an increasing number of companies that started to increase their volume, unlike a few years back.
“The industry has passed the point where technology and expertise are the big issue as the industry players are able to produce bio-based products on a relatively large scale,” he told reporters at the Bio- Malaysia and Asia-Pacific BioEconomy Exhibition 2017 (BioMalaysia 2017) in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.
He said a growing interest in bioindustrial products is also recorded, particularly by BioNexus companies such as bioplastic goods.
At present, there are 286 companies that have received the BioNexus status under Bioeconomy Corp, and they are expected to set the path for other smaller enterprises.
Mohd Shuhaizam added that the bio-based industry is expected to contribute 1.5% to the country’s gross domestic product worth RM2.1 billion by 2025, which is recorded at 0.97% at the moment.
He said the demand for expertise and human capital in the segment is also on the rise, in tandem with the growing production volume.
“Strong business will definitely create more job opportunities and for the bio-based industry the demand for expertise is great.
“For Bioeconomy Corp, we are leveraging on our education centre, the Bioacademy, to train individuals and meet the necessary requirements that would boost the industry,” he said.
As the BioNexus companies are doing relatively good, they are now moving and finding a place in the market, thus creating job opportunities.
As the implementation agency for the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation, Bioeconomy Corp is on track with its target of commercialising bio-based products.
“In 2015, the ministry had targeted 360 innovative and high-impact products to be commercialised by 2020. At present, there are 260 products that have been commercialised globally and locally as at the second quarter of this year,” Mohd Shuhaizam said.
The ministry launched the National Biotechnology Policy in 2005 to measure the growth of the industry and further develop the main sectors, including agriculture, biomedical and industrial manufacturing.
However, Mohd Shuhaizam said the biomedical and industrial manufacturing segments are growing at a slower rate due to the nature of each sector.
“We always see the biomedical sector as the complicated one as it involves the government and we have to work around its system. At the moment, we have not seen that many industry players involved in the biomedical sector,” he added.