In the future, the trillion-dollar global halal market will be captured by countries that were proactive enough to recognize the emergence of this highly lucrative and fast-growing global Muslim consumer market. The global halal market is not only substantial in terms of the size of its consumer base; it also encompasses a broad array of potential products and services.
Currently, we are witnessing Muslim countries like Malaysia, Indonesia and Saudi Arabia trying to capture the halal vaccination market and Non-Muslim countries like New Zealand, Singapore and Australia gaining a share of the global halal logistics and supply chain industry. Innovations in halal industries include several offerings such as halal pharmaceuticals, halal hospitality, Islamic Fintech, halal tourism, and modest fashion. But where is Pakistan in this whole halal market equation?
Muslims in Pakistan account for approximately 96% of the country’s total population and represent 11% of the global Muslim population. This makes Pakistan not only an attractive market for the rapidly expanding global halal businesses but also identifies a promising opportunity for the country in terms of halal market exports. However, current statistics do not validate this hypothesis.
According to the data, Pakistan has a meager 0.25% share in the global halal trade which vastly falls short of the country’s halal export potential. This gap has been recognized by the Prime Minister of Pakistan, who has repeatedly shared his vision of broadening the halal export base of our country. Halal exports can have a significantly positive impact on the country’s trade deficit especially if we are able to tap into the halal meat market.
Out of the all the Muslim countries only a few countries including Bangladesh, Iran, Malaysia, Pakistan, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and the UAE are exporting Halal meat to various Muslim and Non-Muslim countries.This creates an enormous potential for Pakistan. According to some estimates Pakistan can earn up to PKR90 billion through the export of halal meat to various international markets. It is among the top 10 global beef and veal producers and produces 1.8 million tons of beef and veal annually.The country’s livestock exports account for around 3.1% of its gross exports. Within this the halal meat accounts for only 1.1% of the country’s total export base. Pakistan has a large rural community having large potential for the production of halal meat. However, its inability to capture the halal meat export market can be traced back to a number of issues currently existing in our local market place.
Brands do not follow the halal standards from raw material to the selling point as being done by the rest of the halal hubs all around the world. Majority of the stakeholders are unaware of the concept of Halalan Toyyiban or the halal value chain
In Pakistan, majority of the stakeholders equate the concept of halal with the Shariah specified method of slaughtering animals and the absence of pork and alcohol from products. Globally the concept of halal has surpassed the premises of halal manufacturing. Muslim consumers want the products to be manufactured, stored, transported, sold and advertised according to Shariah principles for them to be considered Islamic brands. Brands are being developed on the Islamic concept of Halalan Toyyiban. It relates to the products and services that are “allowed and permissible for consumption with relation to Shariah law as long as they are safe and not harmful”. If Pakistan wants to capture the halal meat market it needs to develop a halal value chain for the halal meat.
Non-Muslim countries have captured a major portion of the halal meat market by gaining expertise in various halal supply chain activities. Brazil is the largest exporter of halal meat to the OIC countries followed by Australia, India, France and China. Countries are tapping into various stages of the halal value chain process for products and services such as halal supply chain management, halal logistics and warehousing, halal packaging and Islamic branding. Brazil has developed halal chicken slaughtering houses, New-Zealand is the largest exporter of halal lamb and has developed halal logistics facilities according to international standards andNetherlands have created halal warehouses for storing halal shipments according to halal storage standards. Such halal supply chain facilities are non-existent in Pakistan.
Currently, majority of the brands being sold in Pakistan fall in the category of Traditional Islamic brands in which the halal status of the product or service is assumed and not explicitly stated by the seller. This creates a problem since research shows that almost 90% of the products being sold in Pakistan are not certified halal by a credible authority. Based on the recent developments in the halal market, this seems plausible since the concept of halal logistics; warehousing, transportation and storing are almost non-existent in our country. Brands do not follow the halal standards from raw material to the selling point as being done by the rest of the halal hubs all around the world.
The majority of the stakeholders are unaware of the concept of HalalanToyyiban or the halal value chain. With the large amount of imported products present in our local markets and our local brands targeting the global export market, Pakistan is in a drastic need to develop centralized halal standards and certification requirements for all industries and value chain activities.The development of trade relations with other Muslim countries such as Malaysia and Turkey can be strengthened through the formation of standardized Islamic brands. This is the stepping stone for the development of a substantial halal export base for any country.
Syeda Nazish Zahra Bukhari is an Assistant Professor in the Institute of Business and Information Technology (IBIT), University of the Punjab, Lahore