KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – The Philippines may be exporting products to the biggest halal markets in just a year or two, Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) chairman Datu Abul Khayr Alonto said at the world’s largest halal event held here.
Alonto spoke at the Malaysia International Halal Showcase (MIHAS) which ran from April 5 to 8 in this city.
“Cassava, rice, palm oil – but not so much of the palm oil. By next year, maybe a year or two, we will be exporting them and not importing – hopefully,” he said.
Alonto expressed confidence that Philippine products will be able to penetrate big markets like China and Europe, as well as the growing halal markets in Southeast Asia and the Middle East.
He added that MinDa is also in the process of educating Philippine businessmen on the production and certification of their products to make them suitable for export to predominantly Muslim countries.
Certification has been a long running issue when it comes to the Philippine export of halal goods. With several bodies giving the halal seal, markets tend to question the authenticity. However, with the creation of the Philippine Halal Export Development and Promotion Program, halal certification bodies are set to be accredited and organized.
“As we have been telling businessmen, if we can establish our credibility on this, on Halal food, then we can be just like Europe. We could go to the Middle East,” Alonto said. “Scandinavian countries, they control the market – meat production and all that, they have it. Particularly Denmark. So why can’t the Philippines do it too?”
The Philippine delegation at MIHAS include more established companies like San Miguel, Century Pacific Food, Pampanga’s Best, and Goldilocks. There were also start-up businesses offering Filipino food, condiments, and cosmetics.
Products that drew interest include the halal versions of tocino and Tender Juicy sausages, as well as snacks from Rebisco.
Chargé d’Affaires Raly Tejada of the Philippine Embassy in Kuala Lumpur welcomed the presence of a large delegation at the MIHAS, especially since the embassy and the Philippine Trade and Investment Center (PTIC) in the city have been pushing for the entry of more Philippine products into Malaysia, particularly halal-certified products.
“We believe that the Philippines, particularly Mindanao, has the potential to become a major player in the global halal industry, and the embassy and PTIC-KL are more than happy to assist MinDA in transforming that potential into actual market share,” Tejada said at the event.
MIHAS is dubbed as the world’s largest halal event and has been around for 15 years. In 2016, the event welcomed over 22,000 visitors from over 70 countries and generated record sales beyond RM1 billion (USD225 million) for its 600 exhibitors.
Originally published on www.rappler.com