The Philippines’ domestic Halal industry has been experiencing remarkable growth and transformation, as the country strives to meet the increasing demand for Halal-certified products across various sectors, catering to both local and global markets.
In a sweeping move to bolster the burgeoning halal industry in the Philippines, the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) pledged unwavering support during a recent briefing held by PTV Philippines. The salient details of the strategy, as explained by PEZA’s PR manager, Aleem Siddiqui Guipal, centered around an innovative partnership and the relentless bolstering of the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) within the industry.
Guipal disclosed that PEZA has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos and the Mindanao Development Authority. The signing, a major milestone, underscores the agency’s determination to galvanize a whole-of-government approach to empower the halal sector.
PEZA’s strategic vision involves injecting robust strength into SMEs and startups within the halal industry, thereby stimulating its expansion. “Our prime objective is to invigorate the domestic halal economy. This involves empowering SMEs and startups and furnishing them with a robust platform to advance their businesses,” expounded Guipal.
Amidst this strategic maneuvering, significant investments have been directed toward the creation of halal hubs within the Philippines. A generous P17.6 million has already been poured in from Malaysia, with Saudi Arabia following suit with a solid P10.4 million investment. Looking ahead, the United Arab Emirates has pledged a hefty investment of P11 million for this year.
Fazil Irwan, the CEO of Penang Halal International, the Malaysian government agency at the helm of promoting Malaysia’s halal business ecosystem, threw his weight behind the halal promotion. He cited the substantial and continually growing Muslim population as the significant driver of this burgeoning market, particularly within the ASEAN region.
“The global Muslim population, currently standing at 1.8 billion, is expanding rapidly. By 2060, we expect a whopping 70 percent growth, translating to around 3 billion individuals. This demographic evolution represents an enormous market potential. With a robust Muslim population of 240 million people, making up 42 percent of the total, ASEAN is a vital player in this potential,” Irwan expounded.
State of the Halal Industry in the Philippines
The halal industry in the Philippines has been gradually gaining traction, showing immense promise with vast untapped potential. The country is strategically located in Southeast Asia, a region that holds a sizable share of the global Muslim population. Given the tenets of Islam concerning food, there is a rising demand for halal-certified products and services, presenting an abundant economic opportunity.
Halal certification, derived from Arabic, essentially means “permissible” and is typically applied to food products, cosmetics, personal care products, pharmaceuticals, and services that conform to Islamic laws. It assures consumers that the products they use or consume are processed, manufactured, and produced in compliance with Sharia law. The global halal industry, as a result, caters not only to the worldwide Muslim population but also to non-Muslims who perceive the halal label as a new benchmark for safety and quality assurance.
The Philippine halal industry comprises several sectors. Food and beverage is the most recognizable, but it also includes non-food products such as cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, and lifestyle products. The halal tourism sector is another promising area. Halal-friendly accommodations and restaurants, as well as travel agencies providing Muslim-focused tour packages, are becoming more prevalent.
The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA), along with other government agencies, has initiated efforts to further grow the industry. By providing support to SMEs and startups in the sector and securing investments for halal hubs, they aim to boost the halal ecosystem in the country.
The recent influx of investments from countries like Malaysia and Saudi Arabia, coupled with the expected investment from the United Arab Emirates, will not only contribute to the halal industry’s infrastructure but also facilitate technology transfer and knowledge sharing. This could help local businesses improve their halal certification process and meet international standards.
Supported by a strong Halal certification system and proactive government initiatives, the Philippines’ domestic Halal industry has gained momentum, fostering a wide range of Halal-compliant products and services that cater to the country’s Muslim population and appeal to the growing global Halal market.
Fazil Irwan’s endorsement of the halal industry speaks volumes about its market potential. As the Muslim population continues to grow, the demand for halal-certified products and services will increase exponentially, opening up a plethora of opportunities for businesses in the Philippines.
Challenges for the Philippines’ Halal Industry
However, the growth of the halal industry is not without challenges. One of the key obstacles is the lack of awareness about the halal industry and its potential. Furthermore, the halal certification process can be rigorous and costly, potentially deterring SMEs and startups. These challenges need to be addressed for the industry to thrive and achieve its potential.
Nevertheless, with the continued commitment and efforts of PEZA and other stakeholders, the future of the halal industry in the Philippines looks promising. It has the potential to stimulate economic growth, create job opportunities, and position the Philippines as a key player in the global halal market. With its commitment to quality standards and the promotion of Halal products, the Philippines’ domestic Halal industry is poised to continue flourishing, providing economic opportunities and catering to the diverse needs of consumers worldwide.
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