Al Islami, CNBC Arabia jointly organize Halal Market Forum 2011

Al Islami, CNBC Arabia jointly organize Halal Market Forum 2011

Al Khaimah, a live forum addressed key issues prevailing the halal food industry

Dubai: What are the current trends, issues and future of halal food market of US$ 651.5 billion? Speakers from geographically strategic regions discuss at a live forum jointly organised by Al Islami and CNBC Arabia TV, Dubai Media City at the conclusion of channel’s Ramadan programming.

The industry experts who were invited to the forum include: Hamid Badawi, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Al Islami Foods, Alaa Kamal, Head of Sales and Marketing of Midamar Middle East, a US based Halal food producer and Wahid Kandil, General Manager of Prairie Halal Foods Middle East, a Canada based halal food producer.

The speakers agreed that the immediate potentials for investors of halal food market are in acquiring high net worth halal food producers, slaughterhouses, ingredients production, halal livestock, halal raw meat and halal industrial parks.

On the question about the beginning of Halal concept, what prompted the concept to come out to the global scene was a controversial article published in a UAE Arabic newspaper claiming pork as halal back in 1981, which triggered a debate in the food industry. That stirred the founder of Al Islami, Hajj Saeed Lootah, who took on a mission to educate the public about the difference between Halal and Haram that pioneered the growth of Halal concept.

Hamid Badawi, Deputy CEO of Al Islami Foods, while commenting on the fast growth of the market, said: “From the business point of view, halal has some major health and business benefits. That is why the market is developing. Attractive growth numbers are grabbing attention of investors”.

“A Global Halal Standard and Global Halal Certification”, Hamid asserted, “is a key to resolve the sensitive issues faced by the industry, otherwise the market will remain fragmented and in regional hubs”.

Legislations for Halal certification vary from one Islamic school of thought, called Madhab in Arabic, to another one.  Each school of thought and country has its own legislations for Halal certification.

Malaysia is one of the key players in global Halal sector, the others being Australia, Brazil, Thailand, Indonesia, Brunei. China, France and Japan have plans to enter soon.  Currently, market is in its natural evolution process. However, regions and countries differ on Shariah rules of Standards and Certifications. Currently halal market is in the brain-storming phase of developing Common Halal Standard and Common Halal Certification that are acceptable to all four Madahib of Islamic world.

In recent developments, the halal industry has diversified into Halal industrial parks and Halal marketing. The Halal park is the Halal supply chain and logistics, ports and shipping part of the industry. Halal parks are being developed in partnership with private sector as well as regional development authorities of Malaysia, the UK, the EU, Brazil and other OIC countries. Later, these parks will be linked with regional and international halal parks. Each park will be connected with local livestock farms, enterprise community and the local authorities.

These services Halal parks are providing include: Strong support from local government, Developed Infrastructure, Vibrant Business Environment for local and foreign Investors, Educated and skilled workforce, Accessible to wide range of Halal finance, Islamic banking and Takaful insurance facilities, Availability of Research and Development Facilities, Institution of higher Learning through strategic partnership, Halal Logistics links – Land, Sea and Air.

Lately, SAMI, the world’s first Halal Food Index was launched at the 6th World Halal Forum in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia by Rushdi Siddiqui and Ideal Ratings. It is considered a significant development in the Halal industry. It translates a substantial investing platform is being developed.