Malaysia: BIMP-Eaga eyes bigger Halal market sharelatest!

KUCHING: Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East Asean Growth Area’s (BIMP-Eaga) proponent projects, Halal poultry was set to capture at least two per cent of the demand for 770,000 metric tonnes per year of Halal food products in the Gulf States, including Jordan and Yemen.

Internationally, the world traded a staggering RM466.80 billion worth of Halal food products annually. The growing demand makes it the single biggest discovery in the specialty food market in recent times.

According to Maharlika Agro-Marine Ventures Corporation in the Philippines chairman and chief executive officer (CEO) Vicentre Lao, a large Muslim population, rich natural resources, adequate infrastructure, self-sufficiency in the poultry industry were said to be factors which the four countries in BIMP-Eaga could harness together in the pursuit of capturing a larger Halal chicken market pie.

A closer look was undertaken by the German technical Cooperation Agency (GTZ) as a part of its support to BIMP-Eaga’s over arching goal to narrow the development gap between the countries. Its senior advisor Mary Jean T Roxas said, “The current price of chicken meat per kilo produced in BIMP countries range between RM5.94 and RM8.65. When compared with the RM4.98 per kilo offered by Brazil, the world’s largest Halal chicken producer, it seemed that BIMP-Eaga did not stand a chance.

“To compete in the Halal export market with big players like Brazil requires long term changes and investments and will be challenging. Now the question is would that prevent BIMP-Eaga from its vision of attaining even a modest market share?,” she added.

GTZ offered several ways to improve the competitiveness. It said that since 60 per cent to 70 per cent of the cost of poultry production goes to feed, it makes sense to reduce this input cost by increasing the efficiency and scale of local corn production, source soy beans to jointly increase bargaining power and share cost to explore substitute inputs for feed production.

“A Taiwanese company located in Sarawak’s Tanjung Manis Eco Halal Park is developing an alternative to soya for poultry feed derived from seaweed which is abundant in the region,” Jean said.

Apart from that, value added processed poultry products such as Halal chicken curry and sausages could also command higher prices in the market. Moreover, Brunei Darussalam offers its Halal Brand and market access to export processed goods outside BIMP-Eaga.

Jean further explained, “Sarawak’s Tanjung Manis Eco Halal Park is a good example to foster cooperation under BIMP-Eaga with its proximity to West Kalimantan where there are a number of poultry raisers and Brunei Darussalam for export through the Brunei Halal Brand and also for possible financial backing.”

To support in the integration process of the Halal poultry sector in the region, a series of training workshops were being conducted in the four countries. “Through the partnership of GTZ with the International Halal Integrity Alliance Inc (IHIA), this activity is aimed to promote best practices in assuring Halal integrity across the entire supply chain and contribute in building BIMP-Eaga as a reliable supply base for authentic Halal poultry products,” said Jean.

The trainings were conducted in Brunei Darussalam last July 12-13, Pontianak, Indonesia last July 15-16, and Cagayan de Oro, Philippines last October 15-16, 2010. Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia would host the next training scheduled on October 18-19, 2010. These developments would enable poultry raisers such as Lao to export, cooperate with one another and to collectively build their common competitiveness in Halal poultry in the region.

The IHIA was the prime mover in the development of the Global Halal Standard which underwent a process of technical consultations in Europe, Middle East and Africa, and the Asia Pacific. These modules were deliberated and discussed among the major industry players, government bodies and non-profit establishments.

GTZ, on the other hand, is an international cooperation enterprise for sustainable development with worldwide operations. It provides viable, forward-looking solutions for political, economic, ecological and social development in a globalised world.

“ GTZ promotes complex reforms and change processes with an overall objective of improving people’s living conditions on a sustainable basis. Our project in BIMP-Eaga aims to promote economic cooperation through facilitating trade, tourism and investment in the region,” she concluded.