Thailand: Think tank urges beefed-up halal push

By Lamonphet Apisitniran – Bangkok Post

thailand-flagThailand’s economic think tank wants the government to put greater focus on upgrading halal food standards to win acceptance from Muslim countries. Ladawan Kumpa, deputy secretary-general of the National Economic and Social Development Board, said the government should support halal food producers, starting with the costly testing required for halal food to be certified by qualified laboratories.

“The laboratory cost is quite expensive, and we can’t avoid it because the halal food importers will never import anything without a certified label,” Ms Ladawan said.

“But 90% of Thailand’s business operators are small and medium-sized enterprises, including the halal food producers, so the government needs to seriously find supportive measures.”

Also, a concrete strategy to support halal food makers should be part of the government’s national agenda to improve the competitiveness of small and medium-sized Thai enterprises in the global market.

There is only one laboratory for halal food testing in Thailand, the Halal Standard Institute, compared with two in Malaysia. “Thai halal food producers have to wait a long time to get the certificates  for their products. Sometimes it makes them lose business opportunities,” Ms Ladawan said. Pramote Witayasuk, the industry vice-minister, said Industry Ministry policy is to support the Thai industrial sector, including the food industry, and that Thailand has the opportunity to export halal food products to Asean and the global market.

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