Tapping Halal market share

ACCORDING to Secretary National Food Security and Research, Muhammad Abid Javed, the Government is paying special attention to bring an improvement in Halal food sector since it has the capacity to significantly boost national exports. Speaking at a function of Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry on Thursday, he said Halal food industry has a huge untapped potential.
Some estimates suggest that total size of Halal market in global trade was around $3 trillion but Pakistan’s share is negligible which is around only $28 million or just 0.5%. Global Muslim population is about 25% but 80% of the world Halal trade is dominated by non-Muslim States. World’s leading suppliers for Halal products including high quality meat, poultry, dairy products and other foods are Australia, Brazil, Canada, Indonesia, India, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, New Zealand and US. This speaks volumes about our approach to the issue despite the fact that the country’s exports were falling gradually and there was dire need to diversify them with Halal food having potential to provide a marvellous opening for the purpose. In this backdrop, the announcement of the Secretary that steps are being taken to exploit this potential but he did not elaborate. In the beginning of the year, Parliament passed Pakistan Halal Authority Act but we are not in the habit of making institutions functional with the required speed. It is utmost important that the Authority becomes functional at the earliest as there are many issues like Halal certification, quality and grading which are required to be taken care of if we are genuinely interested in promoting Halal exports. We will have to take into account that presently most of the Halal meat, dairy and food demands are being met by Australia, Europe and the United States, which pay due attention to hygiene, quality and standard for satisfaction of consumers. The industry also needs modern and hygienic slaughter houses that can meet international standards for export of chilled or frozen red meat to the countries where demand for Halal meat is growing. We can also export beef and veal to neighbouring China where demand is increasing because of rising income levels.

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