PH halal industry seen to rebound in 4 years

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 03 May) – The share of halal products to the country’s total exports is expected to return to its 11-percent level by 2022 after suffering constant decreases since 2013 due to “little support in the policy side,” Trade secretary Ramon Lopez said.

A halal auditor monitors a bakery in Cotabato City. MindaNews file photo by BOBBY TIMONERA

Speaking on the first day of the two-day 1st Philippine National Halal Conference themed “Towards Making the Philippines a Significant Player in the Global Halal Ecosystem,” at the Marco Polo Hotel Davao Wednesday, Lopez said Philippine halal products and services last year were only pegged at P5.52 billion or 8.73% of the country’s total exports valued at P63.23 billion.

Lopez said the government is determined to develop the country as a significant player in the global halal trade by “informing the world that Philippines is ready to take on a bigger role in the halal industry.”

He said the global halal food and lifestyle industry is expected to reach $3 trillion in three years.

He noted that the country can seize halal opportunities in media, recreation, fashion, pharmaceuticals, personal care and cosmetics and tourism.

Congress is looking at legislating a bill on Islamic finance as this sector is expected to reach $3.5 trillion by 2021 from $2 trillion in 2015, he said.

“Note that there is more than 2 billion global Muslim population in 2014, growing by 1.8% per year, and the bulk is located in Asian countries. This means halal opportunities for Philippines are in our backyard,” he added.

He said the top importers of Philippine halal products in the ASEAN market are Malaysia and Indonesia while the United Arab Emirates is the biggest importer in the Middle East.

Citing data from the Philippine Statistics Authority, Lopez said the top exports are coconut oil, processed food and beverages, fresh banana, pineapple and pineapple products and tuna.

The Philippines joined last year the 27-member International Halal Accreditation Forum, an independent, nongovernment network of accreditation entities mandated to enforce halal standards in their countries and territories.

Congress passed Republic Act 10817 or the Philippine Halal Export Development and Promotion Act of 2016, which created the Philippine Halal Export Development and Promotion Board, consisting of the Departments of Foreign Affairs, Tourism, Health, Science and Technology and Agriculture, and other agencies.

The board is tasked, among others, to develop and apply halal agricultural and manufacturing standards and practices.

Lopez said halal will become a major industry because of increasing demand for halal products even in non-Muslim markets; increased awareness of the availability, quality, and integrity of halal products; increase in number of certifiers to ensure quality, integrity of halal products in the market; emerging new categories of halal-certified products and services; globalization and integration of markets; and growth in e-commerce and internet platform.

He called on exporters to expand the coverage and category of halal ecosystem, urged local government units to strengthen ordinances for the industry’s development, encouraged the academe to look into incorporating halal in research and development or make it part of the curriculum, and pushed for the private sector to increase its interest in the industry. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)