By Noor Soraya Mohd Jamal
KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 2 (Bernama) — Malaysia’s halal exports of between RM30 billion and RM32 billion a year can be significantly enhanced by strengthening the country’s position as a halal trading centre and be less dependent on domestic production.
Managing director/chief executive officer of Halal Industry Development Corp (HDC), Datuk Seri Jamil Bidin, said the industry was still not crowded and firms must grab the opportunities not only as manufacturers but also as trading companies.
He said the country was already the world’s leading exporter of halal ingredients required in various industries, such as food and beverages (F&B), cosmetics, emulsifier and medical and wellness.
Jamil said to kick-start the drive, HDC has enlisted 10 anchor companies, out of 801 exporting companies registered with the agency, to lead the initiative with the corporation’s guide and assistance.
“These companies are encouraged to focus on growth market such as China and West Asia with huge Muslim populations,” he told Bernama in an interview.
Jamil said non-traditional halal markets, among them Japan, were quickly catching up.
He said Japan was aggressively developing its own halal industry due to increasing demand for halal products and the expanding halal market.
“Recognising Malaysia’s experience and expertise in halal products, Japan, China and Latin America countries seek HDC’s assistance to increase halal awareness and develop their own halal industry.
“This is a healthy progress. We need connectivity and network. We cannot be alone in this industry,” he said.
The global halal market is currently estimated at US$2.3 trillion covering both food and non-food sectors. The estimated Muslim population worldwide is over 1.8 billion.
In the first quarter of this year, Malaysia exported halal products worth RM9.2 billion.
Jamil said this growing acceptance has also shown that Malaysia’s halal companies had the capabilities and capacities to cater to the needs of the global market.
The main products exported are halal F&B, which continued to be the leading sector, with exports valued at RM3.5 billion, or 39.9 per cent, of total halal exports.
This is followed by halal ingredients valued at RM3.0 billion, palm oil derivatives (such as oleochemicals) at RM1.4 billion, cosmetics and personal care at RM573 million, industrial chemicals (such as manufacturing processing aids) RM524 million and pharmaceuticals at RM113 million.
In the F&B sector, the top five products exported are edible products and preparations; cocoa and cocoa preparations; prepared cereal and flour preparations; coffee; and, margarine and shortening.
The top five halal export markets are China, US, Singapore, Indonesia and Japan. — BERNAMA