News From : DagangHalal.com (06 Aug 2009)
HUGE MARKETING opportunities through halal foods are open for local food and agriculture firms amid the global economic slowdown, industry and government officials said.
“Given the low level of agricultural technology and the natural features that can hardly support agricultural activities in many [Middle East] countries… a significant portion of the supply must therefore come from exogenous source,” said Imelda J. Madarang, vice-president and general manager of the RFM Corp.’s Export Division, during the Food Industry Summit in Makati last week.
“Most of the Muslim countries are net food importers and therefore do not only evoke security concerns but provide golden opportunities for us,” Ms. Madarang added.
Muslims must ensure that the food they consume adhere to halal – “permissible” in Arabic – requirements of Islamic law.
Halal-certified food and non-food products are so labeled to inform consumers that these are free of pork, lard from swine and alcohol. The global halal market is expected to expand to $500 billion in 2010 from the present $200 billion. For instance, Europe has a 51.2 million Muslim population that has a spending power of about 30 billion (GBP) annually.
In the country, a tenth of the total population or nine million Muslims, are potential consumers of halal goods.
However, Ustadz Esmael W. Ebrahim, vice-president for External Affairs of the National Halal Accreditation Board of the Philippines, Inc., said in his presentation that “this has not been sufficiently tapped by the halal players in the Philippines.”
Since 2006, the country has managed to certify 400 products, which are produced by some 55 companies, as halal. But some of the supposed halal-compliant products are still suspect, he said.
To tap the halal market, Ms. Madarang said policy measures should be developed to lower production costs and develop agriculture to support a strong manufacturing base for halal goods.
For its part, officials of the Agriculture department said they were in preliminary talks with Brunei and Kuwait for a P3.04-billion investment to develop the Halal Economic Ecozone in Davao City and put up a Halal model poultry farm in Cagayan de Oro City in Misamis Oriental.
“The food processing industry and the government, through the Trade department, has established a halal desk,” Roberto Amores, president of the Philippine Food Processors and Exporters Organization, Inc., said in a phone interview. “They will be assisting actively those qualified enterprises,” he added.
Filipino food exporters booked sales worth $19.91 million during the Halal World Expo 2008 in the UAE. – Neil Jerome C. Morales
Source: BusinessWorld Online