$4.3m Halal poultry project in Armm yet to start

$4.3m Halal poultry project in Armm yet to start

Armm halal investors on a wait-and-see mode

COTABATO CITY — The establishment of the P200 million poultry
project in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao hinges on the
region’s readiness to issue certification compliant with Malaysian

Last year, the BIMP-Eaga poultry project was supposed to start but
delays for a private certifying body to have its process approved by
Jabatan Kemajuan Islam Malaysia (Jakim) or Department of Islamic
Development Malaysia hampered the venture’s takeoff.

The private-led Muslim Mindanao Halal
Certification Board, Incorporated (MMHCBI), the only certifying body
recognized by the Armm government, has recently submit its manual of
operations to Jakim for approval, Ishak Mastura, Department of Trade
and Industry-Armm secretary, said.

“We are ready to take up the project.
However, it is the private certifying body in Armm that is delaying the
start of the project because their process is still being completed,”
Vicente Lao, chief executive officer of the Davao City-based Maharlika
Agro Ventures, Incorporated, said.

Maharlika is partnering with Brunei investors for the halal poultry
project to put up at the 123-hectare special economic zone at Polloc
Port in Parang, Shariff Kabunsuan province.

“We can’t rush things now to avoid previous mistakes. What we like
is we get the certification from the recognized private certifying body
of the Armm regional government,” Lao told reporters at the recent Armm
Business Congress here.

He recalled a previous incident where a certification issued by the
government’s Office on Muslim Affairs to a product that entered a
foreign country was rejected.

“Halal certification must be done by a credible private body and
not by a government agency,” Lao, also the chair of the Mindanao
Business Council, stressed.

Lao pointed out that the Mindanao Business Council is endorsing the MMHCBI to be the official national halal certification body.

Presently, the country has still no national common halal guidelines that would govern the halal industry.

Lao stressed that Maharlika and its Brunei partners would not wait
for the national singular guidelines to be completed to start the
poultry project.
“If MMHCBI will be ready to certify the venture, we will immediately start and not wait for the national guidelines,” he said.

Mastura, the region’s DTI secretary, said they are expecting
Malaysia to positively act on the accreditation of MMHCBI within the

Jamil Hamsa Olermo, former chairman of the Muslim Business Forum
based in General Santos City, said the country’s halal industry has not
gained significant progress as it is experiencing a credibility
problem, referring to the Office of Muslim Affair’s practice to issue
halal certification.

But with the private certifying body in Armm headed by religious
leaders, Olermo expressed optimism the country’s halal industry will
gain momentum.

In a scenario of an established halal industry in the country for
products like chicken and fisheries, he said that even if they were
combined, “it would not create a dent to the vast global halal market.”