UAE, Canadian investors eye halal ventures in Mindanao

| 27/05/2008 | Reply

COTABATO CITY (MindaNews/25 May) — Investors from the United Arab
Emirates, particularly from Dubai, and Canada want to venture into the
halal industry in Mindanao, a senior regional government official here
told reporters over the weekend.

Zenaida P. Laida, Department of Science and Technology (DoST)
director for Central Mindanao, said investors from these countries
signified their interest after she presented the Halal industry
initiatives in the country at the 3rd World Halal Forum in Kuala Lumpur
two weeks ago.

“A Canada-based based investor, for one, is
looking for a Mindanao partner involved in (the manufacturing of)
sweets that will be used for the production of marshmallows,” Laidan
said.

“The only problem, however, of foreign investors, like
from Dubai, looking at dispensing Halal investments in Mindanao is the
volatile peace and order condition of the island,” she added.

Laidan
noted the vast tracts of idle, fertile lands in Mindanao that can be
utilized for halal livestock and plantation production by foreign
investors.

She appeared bullish on the halal potential of the
Philippines now that the country has finally “landed in the world halal
map” through the invitation to speak at the World Halal Forum.

It was the first time that the Philippines was invited to speak at the forum since it started two years ago, she said.

This
year’s theme was “Sustained Development through Investment and
Integration.” Heads of states, trade ministers and halal experts from
the fields of industry, science and Shariah Law around the globe took
part in the annual forum initiated by Malaysia.

The global halal
market has a putative monetary value of $580 billion with enormous
potential for growth, industry figures said.

Halal could be food and non-food problems acceptable in Islam, the religion of Muslims.

Laidan, the
lone Muslim in the DoST, said she tackled at the forum the scientific
and technical aspects of the halal industry development in the country.

“We
are going to establish a halal laboratory and science research center
which when fully operationalize within the year. This will ensure the
halalness of the products,” she said, adding the site would be in
Koronadal City, the seat of government of Central Mindanao region.

The
center will also integrate a business development tack mostly aimed in
helping micro, small and medium enterprises carve a niche in the
country’s halal industry and eventually to the world.

An ulama- led national halal standards has already been crafted but it is still uncertain if Malacanang has endorsed.

Laidan said there is a need to review the standards to include scientific and technical aspects.

“I
have nothing against the ulama (religious leaders). All I want is to
ensure the credibility of our halal products and that can be
ascertained only through rigid scientific and technical tests which we
in the DOST will soon be able to do,” she said.

“It will be the
country that will be embarrassed if halal-certified products that will
be shipped to other countries are discovered to be not halal at all,”
she said.

Laidan appealed to the different line government
agencies, as well as private sector and civil society, to collaborate
in helping develop the halal industry. (MindaNews)

Category: Asia

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