Friday, April 21, 2006
Muslims urging for immediate development of halal industry in ARMM
Regional Governor Datu Zaldy Uy Ampatuan of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) urges for the immediate development of halal industry in the region.
In his speech read by Samson Gogo, Executive Director of the Bureau of Public Information (BPI)-ARMM, during an inter-agency halal industry development conference/workshop conducted by the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DA)-ARMM on April 19, 2006 at the Estosan Garden Hotel this city, Governor Ampatuan cited that the international and domestic halal market continues to serve as an attractive and potential opportunity for the region.
Although there are no definitive figures, experts have placed the world halal food market to be worth more than $150 billion a year. And it is continually growing. The establishment of a vibrant halal industry is one of the major thrusts being pushed by the Ampatuan administration to help jumpstart sound economic growth and social development in the region.
Governor Ampatuan said in his first state of the region address that “the ARMM will take a lead role in the growth of halal food industry in the region, considering its huge potential markets in the East Asian Growth Area region and elsewhere.”
The national government is likewise supportive of this endeavor. The vision of making ARMM as the halal-based food production and processing center of the country is included in President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s Medium-Term Philippine Development Plan 2004-2010.
This move is in line with the effort to establish Mindanao as the Philippine’s prime agri-fishery export zone. The inter-agency conference was intended to assess major issues particularly on the production aspect that need to be addressed in order to establish a viable halal industry in ARMM.
DAF-ARMM Secretary Sajid Druz Ali said that the agriculture department “has a primary role in the halal industry development in the region. And that is why we are undertaking means to improve agribusiness and increase the region’s production of high-value crops and other major agricultural commodities.”
Participants repeatedly stressed that there is a grave demand for real halal products even among the country’s Muslim populace and this can only be achieved if a credible halal certification board will be established.
In 2004, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI)-ARMM together with the Darul Iftah and the ARMM Business Council (ABC) have entered into a tripartite Memorandum of Agreement to create the ARMM Halal Certification Board, which is among the provisions of the Regional Economic Zone Authority (REZA) Law.
As a result of the recent state visit of Governor Ampatuan to the State of Malacca, the region will be receiving technical assistance in coming up with a halal certifying scheme from JAKIM, Malaysia’s halal certification body, which is fully recognized and respected among Muslim countries.
“There are very good indications that the ARMM can truly become the halal based production center in Mindanao and the Philippines as envisioned in the Medium Term Philippine Development Plan 2004-2010.
In fact, the very first BIMP-EAGA private sector initiative, which is the BIMP-EAGA Halal Poultry Project, is set to be launched in the Polloc Special Economic Zone in Parang, Maguindanao this year,” said DTI-ARMM Secretary Ishak Mastura. (BPI-ARMM)