Source: The Standard
Published on 04/04/2011
By Macharia Kamau
Growth in the herbal products market in Kenya has caught the eye of the Chinese.
In particular is the food supplement segment, where Chinese firms are increasingly setting up shop in Kenya, some even with a pledge to set up manufacturing plants to service the region.
Among the firms that have entered Kenya in the recent past is Xiehe Group.
The firm recently launched a Chinese herbal immunity-boosting food supplement.
The supplement, known as Savir, has been cleared by the Pharmacy and Poisons Board as a non-scheduled herbal or complementary medicine. The supplement has also received approval from the Kenya Bureau of Standards for sale in the country.
It is targeted at patients suffering from life-threatening ailments like cancer, diabetes, HIV/Aids, allergies and ulcers.
“This is a new generation product that raises human immunity, a factor that has been independently researched,” says Sujun Tai chairperson Xiehe Kenya.
While the major selling point for the food supplements both herbal and non-herbal is the immunity enhancement and boosting abilities, medical professionals warn that they do not have ability to cure chronic diseases.
“The supplements help boost the immunity system of a person and in case they have HIV, it increases the CD4 count in lymph cells and in turn suppresses the duplication of the virus,” says Tai.
CD4 cells are a type of white blood cells that increase the body’s immune system and help initiate the body’s resistance to invasion by micro-organisms such as viruses.
When a person’s CD4 count is low, they are vulnerable to infections and illnesses.
Tai says a report by the Chinese national AIDS treatment centre showed Savir had in many instances elevated the CD4 count among HIV patients.
Xiehe works with Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, Tsinghua University in China, American University of Northeast Carolina, and Canada Edmonte University in biotechnology research.
“We are seizing the opportunity of modern science and medicine to fuse it with traditional Chinese herbal medicine and push the boundaries,” says Tai.
Like other Chinese firms in Kenya selling herbal food supplements, Xiehe will use multi-level marketing, a strategy where sales agents get paid both for the sales they make as well as for recruiting sales representatives.
Tai says this will enable her firm increase its foothold in the country as well as get the products to the market at relatively low prices.
She added that Xiehe is also considering putting up a herbal food supplement manufacturing plant in Kenya.