“As worldwide demand for Halal products grows, this initiative puts the Philippines on the map as an attractive source of high-quality and globally accepted Halal food,” said Rosvi C. Gaetos, Executive Director of the Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM), an attached agency of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).
The Philippine participation, organized by CITEM in cooperation with the Department of Agriculture-
"With the country's reputation as a reliable agri-food supplier, we expect rewarding business opportunities to come from this participation. We also hope to generate international awareness on our budding Halal sector and its potential in terms of investments,"
Gaetos cited the move as a "strategic promotion of Philippine Halal products overseas pursuant to the Philippine Export Development Plan. This supports the development of the local Halal market by accrediting more Halal-certifying bodies and strengthening the capabilities of local food manufacturers to meet stringent Halal requirements."
A report from the 2009 World Halal Forum shows that around 1.6 billion Muslims adhere to Halal, an Islamic religious standard that designates whether a product is fit for use or consumption. The rise of the global Halal market in the past decade, which saw an increase of 12.6 percent from 2004 to 2010, is attributed to the growing Muslim population in regions experiencing strong economic growth such as Malaysia, Indonesia, China, India, the UAE, Bahrain, and Saudi Arabia; their subsequent rising per capita incomes; and the emergent consumer market of non-Muslims drawn to the safe and healthy reputation of Halal commodities.
"Generally, Philippine products are not perceived as Halal since majority of the country's population is Christian, known to have a preference for Islam-forbidden meat such as pork," said Atty. Abdul Rahman R.T. Linzag, president and CEO of the Islamic Da'Wah Council of the Philippines (IDCP), the biggest and most prominent Halal-certifying body in the Philippines, and a member of the World Halal Council.
"We want to go against this perception of our products. We are happy that, for the first time, the government is partnering with us in this trade venture in MIHAS. Since IDCP certification is accepted worldwide, our credibility cannot be doubted and this gives our products an important edge as we exhibit in Malaysia," he said.
"Halal is no longer just a Muslim concern. The fact that Halal products are equated with quality and discriminating taste is an increasingly important value desired by even non-Muslim consumers," he added.
To date, the IDCP has certified an estimated 10,000 products from around 500 companies in the Philippines alone. It has accredited slaughterhouses and certified Halal products in Japan, China, Turkey, India, Pakistan, South Korea, the US, Brazil, and Argentina. Companies from Israel, Mexico, Honduras, Australia, New Zealand, Switzerland, and Poland, among others, are also in the process of being IDCP-certified.
The Philippine delegation includes Angel Coco, Inc. (coconut products), Anjo Farms (milkfish products and shrimp paste), Beauche International By Conchita, Inc. (beauty products), Magic Melt (native delicacies), M.I. Noos Mfg. (coconut sugar and honey), Mofels Food International Corp. (processed meat products, frozen fruits, vegetaries, noodles, juices, dried/smoked seafood), Pampanga's Best (processed chicken and beef products), Raw Brown Sugar Milling Company, Inc. (muscovado products, refined sugar and brown sugar cubes, sugarcane vinegar), and Republic Biscuits Corp. (biscuits, confectioneries, wafers, candies, nuts and seeds, chips and curls).
The participation is also meant to promote the strengthened Halal Food Asia hall of the CITEM-led IFEX Philippines:
For more information, visit www.ifexphilippines.com/
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The Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM) is an export promotions arm of the Philippine Department of Trade and Industry.