DA initiates talks with Kuwait, Brunei to develop ‘halal’ industry

MANILA, Philippines — The
Department of Agriculture has initiated talks with Kuwait and Brunei on
possible investment opportunities for overseas markets for the budding “halal” food industry aimed to benefit 32,000 Muslim farmers and entrepreneurs in Mindanao.

Halal is a term referring to anything permitted by Islamic law and is
often applied to food that has been prepared in accordance with Muslim
principles and techniques.

Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap said separate discussions with the
ambassadors of Brunei and officials from Kuwait had focused on new
investment opportunities in the fledgling halal
industry in the country, especially now that both the Visayas and
Mindanao, besides Luzon, have already been declared and recognized by
the Office International des Epizooties (OIE) or World Animal Health
Organization as free from the Foot-and-Mouth Disease (FMD).

Moreover, the entire country is also free from Avian Influenza or bird flu virus, Yap noted.

Assistant Secretary Clayton Olalia said the Halal Food Industry
Economic Hub portfolio consists of the Halal Economic Zone in Davao
City and a Halal model poultry farm in Cagayan De Oro City.

Olalia said the proposed Halal Economic Zone, which will cost at least P2.2 billion to establish, is the centerpiece of the halal investment portfolio being offered to overseas investors by the Arroyo government.

To be located in Davao City, the Zone is expected to generate 24,000
new jobs for Muslim Filipinos, and boost the Philippines’ export
earnings by at least $200 million per year, he said.

The other investment proposal packaged by the DA, he added, is an
P840-million project involving the establishment of a Halal model
poultry farm complete with research laboratories, abattoirs and other
modern facilities.

Olalia, who is the DA official in charge of halal food development, said the Arroyo government is offering this halal industry investment portfolio to interested investors in the Middle East, Europe, Asia-Pacific and the USA .

He said that local business groups may also consider other investment opportunities like the production of halal animal feed, establishment of livestock and poultry halal farms, abattoir or slaughterhouse, processing, halal restaurants and food establishments, and halal food laboratory testing facilities.

“With the global Halal food market valued some $500 billion, the
Philippines can earn at least $5 billion a year by initially tapping
just one percent of this lucrative share through exports,” Olalia said.
– D’Jay Lazaro, GMANews.TV