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P200M Poultry Project In ARMM Yet To Start

News From : DagangHalal.com (11 Oct 2010)

The establishment of the P200 million poultry project in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao hinges on the region’s readiness to issue certification compliant with Malaysian standards. Last year, the BIMP-Eaga poultry project was supposed to start but delays for a private certifying body to have its process approved by Jabatan Kemajuan Islam Malaysia (Jakim) or Department of Islamic Development Malaysia hampered the venture’s takeoff.

The private-led Muslim Mindanao Halal Certification Board, Incorporated (MMHCBI), the only certifying body recognized by the Armm government, has recently submit its manual of operations to Jakim for approval, Ishak Mastura, Department of Trade and Industry-Armm secretary, said. “We are ready to take up the project. However, it is the private certifying body in Armm that is delaying the start of the project because their process is still being completed,” Vicente Lao, chief executive officer of the Davao City-based Maharlika Agro Ventures, Incorporated, said. Maharlika is partnering with Brunei investors for the halal poultry project to put up at the 123-hectare special economic zone at Polloc Port in Parang, Shariff Kabunsuan province.

“We can’t rush things now to avoid previous mistakes. What we like is we get the certification from the recognized private certifying body of the Armm regional government,” Lao told reporters at the recent Armm Business Congress here.

He recalled a previous incident where a certification issued by the government’s Office on Muslim Affairs to a product that entered a foreign country was rejected. “Halal certification must be done by a credible private body and not by a government agency,” Lao, also the chair of the Mindanao Business Council, stressed. Lao pointed out that the Mindanao Business Council is endorsing the MMHCBI to be the official national halal certification body. Presently, the country has still no national common halal guidelines that would govern the halal industry.

Lao stressed that Maharlika and its Brunei partners would not wait for the national singular guidelines to be completed to start the poultry project. “If MMHCBI will be ready to certify the venture, we will immediately start and not wait for the national guidelines,” he said. Mastura, the region’s DTI secretary, said they are expecting Malaysia to positively act on the accreditation of MMHCBI within the year. Jamil Hamsa Olermo, former chairman of the Muslim Business Forum based in General Santos City, said the country’s halal industry has not gained significant progress as it is experiencing a credibility problem, referring to the Office of Muslim Affair’s practice to issue halal certification.

But with the private certifying body in Armm headed by religious leaders, Olermo expressed optimism the country’s halal industry will gain momentum. In a scenario of an established halal industry in the country for products like chicken and fisheries, he said that even if they were combined, “it would not create a dent to the vast global halal market.”

– SunStar.com

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