UAE: Sharjah becomes Halal capital of world for 3 days

Region’s largest Halal Food Fair and Congress get underway at Expo Centre Sharjah

The global Halal industry has converged on Sharjah as the largest and the most comprehensive Halal event of its kind in the region got under way at Expo Centre Sharjah on Monday, 10th December 2012.

Encompassing the Halal Food Middle East and the Halal Congress Middle East, the event aims to showcase the US$ 2.77 trillion global Halal industry that is growing exponentially at 20 per cent annually to stakeholders from across the world. Of the global Halal industry, which covers food, health services and cosmetics, the annual food market alone accounts for about 20 per cent and is valued at around US$ 550 billion.

The Halal Food Middle East, which will run until December 12 at Expo Centre Sharjah, was inaugurated by H.E. Sheikh Saqr Bin Mohammed Bin Khalid Al Qassimi, Chairman of Sharjah Department of Islamic Affairs. The Halal Congress Middle East will be held on December 11 and 12 at the same venue.

The opening ceremony was attended by Ahmed Mohammed Al Midfa, Chairman, Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry; Mohammed Saleh Badri, ESMA’s Acting Director General; Sultan Abdullah Alwan, Assistant Undersecretary for External Audit, Ministry of Environment and Water; Saif Mohammed Al Shara, Undersecretary, Water Resources and Nature Conservation Affairs, Ministry of Environment and Water; Saif Mohammed Al Midfa, Director-General, Expo Centre Sharjah, representatives of industry chambers, trade associations and government departments. The show is held under the patronage of His Highness Dr. Sheikh Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qassimi, Sharjah Ruler and Supreme Council Member.

A talking point at the opening ceremony was the selection of UAE’s Emirates Authority for Standardization and Metrology (ESMA) by OIC to chair the Halal food technical committee, which was seen as a global high point for the country and the regional Halal industry.

“Halal food and food products have special significance to Muslims. Therefore, the issue of verifying the compatibility of food and food products with relevant Islamic rules has been in focus for decades,” said Dr. Rashid Ahmed Bin Fahad, UAE Minister of Environment and Water, while stressing the UAE’s well-established economic position and its standing as a key regional market and a logistic hub in the field of Halal food and food products trade and re-export.

The decision is also significant given that GCC countries, which have approved more than 50 Halal certification bodies, are considering making it mandatory for all meat imported into the region to carry a Halal stamp.

“The UAE has emerged has a major player in the global Halal trade, given its diverse population that is mainly Muslim and proximity to several countries with large Muslim inhabitants such as those in the Indian sub-continent and the CIS. The UAE also serves as a re-export hub to the rest of the region, underscoring the importance of show as a premier sourcing platform and the necessity to draw up a common certification standard,” said Ahmed Mohammed Al Midfa.

The exhibition is showcasing more than 90 exhibitors from 26 countries like Algeria, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Egypt, Germany, India, Iran, Italy, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Malaysia, Netherlands, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Spain, Taiwan, Turkey, UAE, UK, Ukraine and US.

“The growing demand for quality Halal products from the region presents an opportunity as well as a challenge to the global Halal industry. The region is crucial for the industry as it imports between 80 and 90 per cent of its food requirements. Fresh meats continue to be undersupplied in the Middle East as well as in other Muslim majority countries. The Halal Food ME together with the Halal Congress ME will help the industry capitalize on these opportunities,” said Saif Mohammed Al Midfa.

Renowned international Halal certifying bodies such as IFANCA-US, Halal Control EU-Germany, Halal Italia-Italy, South African National Halal Authority (SANHA) – South Africa, Standards and Metrology Institute For Islamic Countries (SMIIC) – Turkey, Halal Products & Services Association of Pakistan (HAP)-Pakistan are also taking part in the event.

Special pavilions at the show will include that of the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan, IFANCA, Halal Italia and IMP Malaysia.

Billed as a one-stop platform for facilitating and sourcing the sale and purchase of food and related products that conform to Halal requirements, the show has local retail major Sharjah Cooperative Society as its Platinum Sponsor.

The Show will run until 12th December and the timings will be from 10am to 6pm on the first two days and 10am to 5pm on the last day.  Admission to trade and professional visitors only.


Being held under the theme ‘Global standard for quality, hygiene and safety’, the inaugural Halal Congress Middle East have brought together leading Halal experts, scientists and promoters from all over the world.

“Halal Congress Middle East will be the perfect complement to the Halal Food Middle East and project them as one of the most comprehensive events of its kind,” said Asad Sajjad, CEO of Halal Development Council and Co-Organizer of the Halal Congress Middle East

“Halal Congress ME is a premier gathering of food producers, exporters & importers, dealers and distributors and industry stalwarts from Halal hotspots of the world. At the congress, they will share up-to-date information on Halal products; discuss issues facing the industry; explore opportunities that exist is each others’ markets; evaluate compliance, certification and standards; and look out for investment and joint venture opportunities in the UAE,” said Sajjad.

The congress will feature five technical sessions, with each session being hosted by most respected personalities in their sphere of activities including Haji Abdul Malik Kassim, Minister for Penang State government, Malaysia and Chairman Penang International Halal Hub, Malaysia; Ahmed Mohammed Al Midfa, Chairman, Sharjah Chamber of Commerce & Industry; Prof. Dr. Ibrahim S. Al Mohizea, Vice-President Food Affairs, Saudi Food & Drug Authority, KSA; Dr. Munir Chaudry, President, Islamic Food and Nutrition Council of America; and Moulana M.S. Navlakhi, Theological Director, South African National Halal Authority.

The sessions will cover Halal overview and opportunities in the US, South Africa and India; Halal Standards; Halal food; Halal cosmetics & pharmaceuticals; and Halal trade promotion.

The sub-topics will include common mistakes practiced by international Halal certification bodies; developing a global Halal standardization system; role of national, regional and international standardization bodies; potential of UAE in European Halal market; turning UAE from importing t
o Halal exporting country; ensuring integrity in the Halal food supply chain; impact of food contaminates on health & economy & preventive measures; challenges facing Halal pharmaceutical industry, Halal cosmetics: from Europe to Middle East….and back; animal cloning and its effect on Halal status; quality assurance, and potential of export of Halal products in south-south trade.

Prof. Dr. Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, Secretary General of Organization of the Islamic Cooperation, will be the Chief Guest and will preside over the opening session of the Halal Congress along with the guests of honour H.E. Makhdoom Ameen Faheem, Senior Minister for Commerce, Pakistan; His Eminence Dr. Mustafa Ceric, the Grand Mufti of Bosnia-Herzegovina; Honourable Haji Abdul Malik Kassim, Minister for Penang State government and Chairman Penang Halal Hub, Malaysia; Dr. Ibrahim Al Mohizea, Vice-President of  SFDA (Saudi Food & Drug Authority); and Dr. El Hassane Hzaine, Director-General  ICDT  (Islamic Centre for Development of Trade of OIC).

Delegates from 31 countries have confirmed their attendance from Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bosnia, Canada, China, Egypt, Germany, India, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Jordan, KSA, Kuwait, Malaysia, Netherland, Oman, Pakistan, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, Taiwan, Turkey, UAE, UK and USA.

Halal experts, scientists and scholars from 12 countries will make presentations and read out their papers during the two-day congress.