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PIA Press Release

Halal market bids opportunities for exporters

Zamboanga City (September 27) -- Taking into consideration the myriad gains of going Halal has driven a lot of food companies to obtain certification. More than two billion Muslims in over 100 countries, as well as non-Muslims, too, are a huge untapped market for Halal food products.

"Production and manufacturing firms interested to secure Halal certification will certainly help boost sales," said Ms Suraida Guro, one of DTI-Bureau of Export Trade Promotion (BETP)'s market desk officers and the designated associate business development manager for Halal products, "because there is always a market segment which will always prioritize food commodities made in a clean, uncontaminated, germ-free environment whether you are a Muslim or not."

Enlightening trade account readies exporters for a November 2007 road show in halal markets like GCC being organized by the Department of Trade and Industry's Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM) together with the Philippine Trade and Investment Center (PTIC) offices in Jeddah and Dubai, and the Philippine embassies in the said states.

Dubbed the IFEX Philippines Road Show to GCC countries is an effort to nourish the burgeoning market for Filipino food in the region brought about by the fast growing population of overseas workers in the GCC. This resulted in the increased demand of our variety of products, gaining acceptance and exposure not only in Filipino and oriental shops in ME countries but in large, mainstream stores as well. Last year's performance, highlighting only six participants, were able to post US$4 million in sales.

To sustain and build on the gains made during the first road show, CITEM is once again ground working the preparations for the upcoming 2nd edition of the IFEX Road Show to GCC countries. This year, it will be held on November 05 to 18 and will take place in Jeddah and Riyadh of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Abu Dhabi, and finally, Dubai.

Literally translated, Halal means "allowable" or "permissible" in the Middle Eastern language. It also translates to "lawful" and commodities earning this certification means they are established as okay, accepted, or rightfully approved according from the Shari'a (also Syariah). A Shari'a consists of the revealed, canonical laws of Islam that governs religious laws, as derived from the teachings and examples of the Prophet Mohammed, as well as the code of behavior for our Muslim brethren.

Aside from being a religious function, Halal food consumption is not only the Muslim's way of adhering to Islam; it is also a quality food and sanitation standard way beyond the prevalent Current Good Manufacturing Processes (cGMP) and Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP), according to Guro.

"Due to the scarcity of Halal certified food in the local market, every Philippine product (with exception to those that contain haram, or 'un-Halal' ingredients, as outlined in the Shari'a) has high potential of making it big in this specialized market segment."

"Malaysia, Indonesia, and Thailand, together with countries in the Middle East, are distinguished for their Halal beef products. However," Guro shares, "and today's world's largest Halal food producers are, ironically, non-Muslim countries such as France, Canada, Germany, and the United Kingdom where majority of the Halal beef exports are sourced. Brazil and the United States export Halal-certified chicken meat, while Australia and New Zealand is into goat meat production. Buffalo meat is India's primary contribution to the Halal market."

The Philippines has also broken into the Halal international food market. Guro shares that some of our exporters were able to ship Halal-certified beef, chicken, and its by-products in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), "including in the more traditional countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) such as Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar, and Kuwait." To date, there are seven recognized and registered Halal certifiers based in the country. (DTI/PIA ZC) [top]

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