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PIA Press Release

Saudi gov't to assist ARMM on halal certification

by Prix D Banzon

Davao City (21 September) -- Government officials of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has committed to assist the Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) on their application for Halal Certification when they participated in the ARMM business conference, which was held early this month in Cotabato City.

Vicente Lao, chair of the BIMP EAGA Business Council disclosed in a recent media forum that KSA officials who were joined by Shiek Faeyez Hammed Zainy during the ARMM Business Conference expressed commitment to help the ARMM have their Halal certification get the much-needed approval that will be recognized internationally.

He also said that private groups led by Zainy are expected to revisit Mindanao in November where they will bring with them Saudi based Halal certifying officers to check on the current ARMM Halal certification.

Lao said once the certifying officers find out that the ARMM Halal certification is good, Zainy who owns Abbar and Zainy Corporation, known to be 4th biggest cold chain company in the world, will immediately ship poultry products from here to KSA.

Halal chicken he said is one project the ARMM is embarking on and targets the Middle East market where the industry per year cost about $2 billion.

The Middle East he said can only produce 50 percent and half of that or about $1 billion is being sourced out from other areas like Brazil and France.

"Our chance of getting a slice of the market is there and if we don't have plan for this, somebody else will," he said.

He said it will be frozen chicken products shipped by boat that will take 21 days from here to KSA.

Lao however stressed that despite the lucrative market for poultry abroad, the producers are still faced with various difficulties because of the high cost of inputs.

He said corn and other ingredients for chicken feeds are imported and entail high taxes. When the product reaches the country it is subjected to other taxes plus the 12 percent value added tax.

"Government must take a look on this seriously and we expect concrete support for them," he said. (PIA XI) [top]

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