Gov’t launches sci-tech program for halal industry

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / February 29) – Government launched here a

and technology program to officially put the mechanism to position the
country to penetrate the rich global halal market.

“Halal” is an Arabic word that means “permissible.” In relation to food
products, it means prepared in accordance with the Koran.

program will also get a boost from the construction of a halal testing
laboratory in Koranadal City, the capital of the region here.

“We want to become the clearing house of all halal products going out of the

country to ensure their credibility with the foreign buyers,” said Zenaida

Laidan, regional director of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST)

of Southwestern Mindanao (Region 12).

DOST officially launched on Thursday here the “Philippine Science and
Technology Program for the Development of the Halal Industry”, the

that government hoped would finally allow the country to
penetrate the global halal market, which she estimated to be about $600

Laidan said that the program would put the scientific
and technical aspect of a halal preparation saying that food products
cannot be considered fully halal by religious rites alone, since there
can be inputs given to these animals that may have been contaminated
with swine oil.

She called on the different halal certifying
bodies to unite “and propel the industry’s growth and eventually
capture a pie of the foreign market, with Southwestern Mindanao as the
halal production center of the country and gateway to the world
starting with Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei”.

There were
reportedly 50 halal certifying bodies in the country today, but their
credibility had been under question particularly on the technical
aspect of ascertaining the “halalness” of the products.

the country has no singular national halal guidelines that would govern
credible certification process, with certifying groups jockeying to
have their standards as the national guideline.

“We should complement each other’s work and not compete with each other. What

department is trying to do is set up a mechanism, technically and
scientifically, that would protect our halal products from being
rejected by foreign markets,” she said.

The science and
technology halal program earned the support of the Departments of
Health and Agriculture, with President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo also
backing the program.

“This groundbreaking forum …brings the
development and propagation of halal food to the fore while providing
to efficiently comply with halal’s local and international quality and
production standards,” the President said in a message to the

More than a hundred participants graced the two-day
event dubbed National Halal Forum 2008 ending today (February 29). Its
theme is “The Halal Market—The Best Market Place for Mindanao Economic
Growth. Halal experts from Malaysia and Thailand attended the affair as
resource speakers.

Haja Sittie Mariam Abdul Latif, director of
hahal integrity at Malaysia’s Halal Industry Development Corp., said
that the Philippines should create a unified national standards that
shall be strictly enforced if the country wants to penetrate the global
halal market,

Industries must have the commitment to produce
quality halal products, she added, “and this can be achieved by going
into training and be accredited by a credible halal certifying body”.

“Malaysia is willing to assist you by giving training,” Latif said.

local market must also be tapped, she said, “but there’s also a need to
educate the Filipino consumers, even the non-Muslims, on halal products
to make it popular in the domestic front and not just eyeing the
markets abroad”. (MindaNews)