FOOD and non-food producers in Cebu are encouraged to secure Halal certification to access the deep pockets of the Muslim market. Albino Ganchero, head of Halal section of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), yesterday said that getting Halal-certified will enable exporters to take advantage of the lucrative $3.2-billion global Halal market. Halal is an Islamic value and has a direct impact on how products are produced, processed, distributed, stored, sold and consumed. A Halal-certified product means it is compliant with the Sharia law. The industry spans sectors such as food processing, food service, cosmetics, personal care, pharmaceuticals and logistics. Other related industries include travel and hospitality services. Raison Arobinto of DTI’s Export Marketing Bureau-Halal Section said it is important for food and non-food producers to understand Muslims’ preference for Halal-certified products because of their deep reverence to Islam. “It is really a no-no for Muslims to eat non-halal food,” said Arobinto. “If we violate such, it would compromise our personal commitment with Allah. Our prayers won’t be accepted for 40 days,” he said, adding that Muslims pray five times a day. Food certified as Halal are those free of and made of, or containing any part or substance taken or extracted from an animal which are forbidden, according to Islamic laws. Some examples of forbidden food in Islam are those with animal origin like pigs and boars, dogs, snakes and monkeys; carnivorous animals with claws and fangs; birds of prey with claws; pests; and animals forbidden to be killed in Islam like ants, bees and woodpeckers. Also included are animals which are considered repulsive; animals that live both on land and in water; mules and domestic monkeys; all poisonous and hazardous aquatic animals; blood; and any other animal not slaughtered according to the Islamic law. Also forbidden are alcoholic drinks and intoxicating and hazardous plants, except those which toxins or hazards can be eliminated during processing. Ganchero admitted getting Halal-certified is a bit complex. But if a product gets certified, it could enjoy the limitless market opportunities, as 30 percent of the world’s population is Muslim or two billion out of the seven billion global consumers. The Muslim population in the Philippines accounts for 10 percent or 10 million. Halal food isn’t only consumed by Muslims but also by non-Muslim consumers because it has become synonymous with the highest standards of food safety. “Exporters of both food and non-food should look at this market as a bigger picture. Asean market alone is already a bigger market to explore. We need to cash in on these opportunities,” said DTI Cebu Director Ma. Elena Arbon. At present, the country has five Halal certifying bodies, three of which are located in Manila while the other two are based in General Santos City and Cotabato City. Trade volume for Halal food and lifestyle in 2015 was valued $1.9 trillion. It is expected soar to $3 trillion in 2021. Halal pharmaceuticals is expected to grow to $132 billion in 2021 from $78 billion in 2015. Halal cosmetics, on the other hand, is poised to grow $81 billion in 2021 while Islamic finance to $3.5 trillion. Modest fashion’s value in 2020 is expected to grow by $327 billion and Halal media and recreation by $262 billion. Another sector that the Philippines hopes to penetrate is Halal tourism, which is expected to grow from $151 billion to $243 billion in 2021. Top seven markets for Halal are Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, Bahrain, and Southeast Asia.
Originally published on www.sunstar.com.ph