A 100-hectare center for the production and processing of halal goods in the eastern ASEAN region will soon rise in Zamboanga City, making it a key growth area for entrepreneurs wanting to penetrate the global halal market.
Construction of The Asian Halal Center, aiming to be the center of halal industries in the Philippines and in the Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) region, officially began with the recent groundbreaking led by the Zamboanga Economic Zone (ZAMBOECOZONE), with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and local government units.
The Asian Halal Center will be targeting small and medium scale locators that will cater to the estimated US$ 2.6 trillion global halal market. At present, the center expects to identify 14 prospective locators that will lease the center’s facilities.
“Mindanao is positioned to be the manufacturing base for export-quality halal products in the country. With [The] Asian Halal Center, we expect to attract more locators and enhance our country’s position as the halal industrial hub in the region,” said DTI Secretary Ramon M. Lopez.
“The growing halal market worldwide is a potential sector especially for our micro and small entrepreneurs. In the Philippines alone, we have an estimated population of 9.62 million Filipino Muslims. We need to urge them to seize this opportunity and tap the growing sector,” emphasized DTI industry promotion group undersecretary Nora K. Terrado.
Halal is a Qur’anic term that means permitted, allowed or lawful. A certified-halal product refers to food and other consumer goods that have undergone certification as permissible for consumption and use by Muslims.
According to a report on the State of the Global Islamic Economy 2014-2015 published by Thomson Reuters, the total halal food market reached US$ 1,292 billion in 2013 and is expected to grow by US$ 2,536 billion in 2019, with 12 percent compound annual growth rate (2013-2019).
DTI, as the lead agency of the Philippine Halal Board, stresses the need to increase public awareness of the availability, quality and integrity of halal products in the country. After the signing of Republic Act 10817, commonly known as the Halal Export Development and Promotion Act last May, the agency is taking the lead in convening dialogues and initiatives to promote the said sector.
Through the establishment of The Asian Halal Center, which also happens to be the first of its kind in the region, ZAMBOECOZONE aims to position itself as the halal processing and manufacturing hub in the Philippines, as declared in a memorandum of agreement between the ZAMBOECOZONE and the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) last February.
The Philippine Halal Board, with DTI Secretary Lopez as chairman, was convened last September 19. The board is composed of members from nine government agencies including the departments of agriculture, health, science and technology, tourism, foreign affairs, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, Mindanao Development Authority, the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos and two Filipino Muslim professionals who will be appointed by the President.