Pakistan fails to gain much in Halal brand market

KARACHI: Pakistan has failed to capture even a small share of the global Halal brand market worth two trillion dollars, said a top market leader.

Secretary General Halal Development Council (HDC) Asad Sajjad told The News on Monday that Pakistan’s export had increased from zero in the last two years, but it was still negligible sans government support.

The Halal market includes food and ingredients, beverages, personal care items including cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, herbal products, Islamic fashion and leather products, tourism and hospitality products, auditing, security and warehousing, banking and insurance. He said that quality of Halal products and Halal standards were very high due to which not only Muslim buy Halal products but even non-Muslims look for Halal certified items, Sajjad said.

Pakistan’s strength is 100 percent Halal production base from a Muslim country, with over 170 million consumers in Pakistan and a direct access to a total of 470 million consumers in Afghanistan, Central Asia and Middle East, he said.

Currently, almost all countries exporting Halal products are non-Muslim. Brazil, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, France, Thailand and India are the leading countries exporting Halal products. Last year, India exported Halal brand products worth $21 billion. Awareness about Halal is higher in those countries where Muslims are in minority, Sajjad said.

There are 15 national and international companies in Pakistan that have started making Halal products.

Such leading brands in the country as English Biscuits, Rooh Afza and Qarshi have applied for Halal certification. Engro has also purchased a Halal food chain in the United States.

In order to promote Halal products in Pakistan, a group of scholars, technocrats, jurists, diplomats and entrepreneurs have registered Halal Development Council (HDC) as an NGO to work for the development of Halal economy in the country.

HDC organised the first Global Halal Congress in December last year in Karachi which attracted more than 26 international delegates from 17 countries. They highlighted numerous untapped opportunities for Pakistani exporters.

The second Halal Congress would be held in December this year.

Following the outcomes of the Halal Congress and response from the government, exporters and international Halal agenda promoters, HDC has formed Halal Products and Services Association of Pakistan (HAP).

Sajjad said they were committed to bridge the gap between the global Halal market and Pakistan and would continue to explore avenues for the development of Halal economy in Pakistan.

The HDC chief said that awareness about world Halal market and Halal standards in Pakistan is almost zero as people here believe Halal means chicken and meat only.

While inviting exporters to Halal business, he said that by the end of 2025, the population of Muslims in the world would be 30 percent of the total population of the world and the share of Halal trade would be even higher than today’s two trillion dollars.