Halal World Expo sparks export demand, but regional consumers face wait for unique Al Ain Quail

Huge UAE demand for unique quail produced in Al Ain
through a selective breeding process means consumers in other Gulf
countries may have to wait at least 18 months before they can buy the
halal delicacy at their local supermarkets.

Just six months after launching its products into the

market, Al Semman Farm in Al Ain is producing 15,000 quail per week,
but says it will have to increase production by more than three times
to satisfy customer demand in the Emirates alone.

Attracting major interest at Halal World Expo in Abu Dhabi this
week, the company had to disappoint distributors in GCC, Middle East
and Europe who were keen to immediately start importing Al Ain Quail,
which are 100% natural, halal, and twice the size of normal birds.

‘They approached us on the opening day of the exhibition, and while
we plan to start exporting our products to other parts of the Middle
East in the near future, this is on hold for now because we don’t have
the capacity to meet the demand,’ said James Greig, Manager of Al
Semman Farm.

‘The response from the

market since we introduced our products here six months ago has been
huge. We now want to increase production to 50,000 per week, and we’re
putting in additional bird producing units in January 2009. We expect
to reach 200,000 quail per month by end of 2009.’

‘That will only just meet requirements in the UAE, never mind the
rest of the Gulf,’ added Greig, who is nevertheless using Halal World
Expo as a platform to increase product awareness among the strong
gathering of halal distributors and suppliers.

Al Semman Farm is part of the UAE-based Liberty Investment Company,
whose chairman, Sheikh Khalid Bin Abdul Aziz Al Qasimi, has insisted

UAE customer demand must be met first, before the company begins exporting its products.

The farm was established in 2007 but only went into production in July
2008 following 18 months of research to perfect its unique breeding

While the precise nature of the process is a strictly guarded trade
secret, the company is using Halal World Expo to reveal some of the
reasons why it can produce quail between 180g and 250g in size,
compared with the international norm of between 110g and 140g.

‘We achieve this through selective breeding, and by using 100%
natural feed,’ explained Greig. ‘We don’t use any antibiotics or growth
enhancers. We can’t call the quail organic, because the feed is not
organically produced, but it uses 100% natural elements and there are
no artificial additives. We’re the only company in the region that does
it this way.’

The farm, which largely supplies supermarkets in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Al Ain, also produces up to 16,000 quail eggs per month.

As Halal World Expo entered its second day at the Abu Dhabi
National Exhibition Centre, the Middle East’s leading showcase for the
US$2.1 trillion global Halal industry was consolidating its role as a
key business and networking platform for industry leaders.

New this year, the Business Connect Programme, sponsored by Halal
Exchange, has proved successful in promoting business opportunities for
the leading players in the world’s fastest growing market.

Open free of charge to all pre-registered visitors, the programme
makes it easy for interested parties to contact exhibitors prior to the
event to arrange face-to-face meetings, maximising business potential
for both buyers and suppliers.

Meetings are hosted by the hotelier, Al Jawhara, in their Business
Connect Lounge, a recreated Majlis in the style of a traditional Arabic
tent. Complete with incense, dates, and coffee, the lounge is a private
setting for visitors and exhibitors to conduct their business meetings,
while bringing traditional Arabic hospitality to life.

Halal World Expo turns the spotlight on Halal lifestyle products,
including Islamic fashion, cosmetics and other healthcare products, as
the demand for Halal compliant products continues to grow in the UAE.

The exhibition gives a strong focus to Islamic Finance, currently worth
between $200 and $500bn annually, with dedicated Global Halal and
Islamic Business Forum running alongside the exhibition.

Tomorrow’s concluding forum will focus specifically on the
challenges and developments in the Halal industry from a global
perspective. The Midamar Corporation will lead the discussion with a
presentation on brand development, as Director Jalel Aossey explains
how to enter the market and establish a viable a Halal brand.

Following Midamar’s presentation, Mohamed El-Mouelhy, Chairman of
the Halal Certification Authority Australia, will identify untapped
Halal markets and how global corporations can achieve an edge on the
competition. Positive Communications, a US-based branding and
marketing-relations firm, will provide an in-depth look into how to
reach Halal markets and sell to consumers living in non-Muslim

Halal Exchange rounds out the forum offerings, as CEO and Chairman
Kombiz Eghdami discusses the convergence of global Halal trade and
e-commerce, paying particular attention to the role of technology in
cross-border trade, and the competitive value of e-commerce for
companies in the Halal industry.