Following a feasibility study into a halaal food park in Cape Town, the Department of Agriculture in the Western Cape is now engaging Muslim stakeholders on what the future of this project could look like. The Department held a meeting on the development of a Halal Industrial Park at IPSA College in Rylands today. The meeting was between Department officials and stakeholders, including many Halal Certifying Bodies. The Halal Industrial Park promises a rise in employment and a larger market for small businesses.
Shuayb Patel from the department’s Project Khulisa laid out the models of successful Halal Industrial Parks that the Western Cape would follow, such as those in Malaysia and the UAE. Along with the push for job creation, skills development in the form of Halal educational training courses would be commissioned by the Department of Agriculture to facilitate young people are correctly equipped to contribute to the industry.
Dr Dirk Troskie, director of business strategy, said the reason for these meetings is to get the community’s input.
“We want to not repeat a similar initiative that was undertaken in the past, which saw an academic show the idea’s legality, yet the stakeholders were not brought into the discussion from the beginning, causing acceptance of the idea to be rejected.”
A number of possible hindrances to the acceptance of a Halal Industrial Park by the Muslim community were raised by stakeholders at the meeting.
Ahmed Sedick, director of the MJC Halal Trust, said that Muslims would avoid the Halal Industrial Park if its investors brought money from non-Halal means, such as the “SAB and GrandWest Casino”.
“The idea of a Halal Industrial Park based on interest (riba) creates what I call the Halal Muslim Conundrum. If the park is to be Halal, the investment must be Halal.”
Another audience member Maymoena Arnold felt that the event was not widely legitimised by the Muslim community, and called for a shura to be set up to decide whether the Halal Industrial Park should go ahead.
Demands were also made by audience members to inculcate a better percentage of Muslim involvement in the actual running of the Halal Industrial Park, including having a 70% usage of Muslim farmers for sources in the production used for exports.
Emphasis was made on the involvement of the Muslim community, to decide the nature of the Halal Industrial Park; whether it should be a regulated standard of trade, or a process, or something else.
The Department of Agriculture made it clear that the self-regulatory entity that would be put in place will be purely Muslim.
This is one of many forthcoming Halal Consultative Forums in the Western Cape. For more details, email Che Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 021 487 4826. VOC