The twelve National Key Economic Areas (NKEA) sectors are the core of the Malaysia Economic Transformation Programme (ETP) and is defined as a driver to potential economic activities that will directly and significantly contribute to Malaysia's economic growth. The Agriculture NKEA plays an important role in Malaysia's economic development - providing employment, increase rural incomes and ensuring national food security. Agriculture NKEA focuses on sub-sectors with high growth potentials, i.e. aqua-culture, seaweed farming, swiftlet nests, herbal products, fruits and vegetables and premium processed food. This will enable Malaysia to penetrate the high-value global market which is growing rapidly. Sub-sectors such as rice and livestock are also chosen because of their importance as the main source of national food security.
Biotropics is one of the key private companies involved in driving the Entry Point Project (EPP) 1 under the NKEA initiative.
Biotropics and Universiti Sains Malaysia signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in 2008 to collaborate among others to set up a Center for Herbal Standardization (CHEST Lab) located in Universiti Sains Malaysia, Penang for standardization of herbal, cosmetics, nutraceuticals and phyto-pharmaceutical products. The set up of the laboratory facility are based on cGLP (current Good Laboratory Practices) compliance and ISO 17025 requirements.
The main objectives of this facility are:
The collaboration efforts between Biotropics and Universiti Sains Malaysia are also part of the strategic initiatives to support human capital building by engaging USM’s researchers, under graduates and graduates with practical and commercial experience which will provide employment opportunities and gain the relevant technology know-how.