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Al Islami hosts Halal market forum.

Dubai-based Al Islami Foods and CNBC Arabia TV jointly hosted Al Khaimah, a live forum to discuss the current trends, issues and future of the $651.5 billion halal food market.

A leading player in the Halal food industry, Al Islami said the 'Halal Market Forum 2011' was held at Dubai Media City as part of the conclusion of CNBC Arabia TV's Ramadan programming.

Industry experts including Hamid Badawi, deputy CEO of Al Islami Foods, Alaa Kamal, head of sales and marketing of Midamar Middle East, a US-based Halal food producer and Wahid Kandil, general manager of Prairie Halal Foods Middle East, a Canada-based halal food producer took part.

The speakers said the immediate potentials for investors in this sector are in acquiring high net worth halal food producers, slaughterhouses, ingredients production, halal livestock, halal raw meat and halal industrial parks.

Hamid Badawi, while commenting on the fast growth of the market, said: "From the business point of view, halal has some major health and business benefits. That is why the market is developing. Attractive growth numbers are grabbing attention of investors."

"A Global Halal Standard and Global Halal Certification", Hamid asserted, "is a key to resolve the sensitive issues faced by the industry, otherwise the market will remain fragmented and in regional hubs".

On the birth of Halal concept, he said what prompted the concept to come out to the global scene was a controversial article published in a UAE Arabic newspaper claiming pork as halal back in 1981, which triggered a debate in the food industry.

That stirred the founder of Al Islami, Hajj Saeed Lootah, who took on a mission to educate the public about the difference between Halal and Haram that pioneered the growth of Halal concept, he added.

According to speakers, legislations for Halal certification vary from one Islamic school of thought, called Madhab in Arabic, to another one. Each school of thought and country has its own legislations for Halal certification.

Malaysia is one of the key players in global Halal sector, the others being Australia, Brazil, Thailand, Indonesia, Brunei. China, France and Japan have plans to enter soon, said Badawi.

'Currently, market is in its natural evolution process. However, regions and countries differ on Shariah rules of Standards and Certifications. Currently halal market is in the brain-storming phase of developing Common Halal Standard and Common Halal Certification that are acceptable to all four Madahib of Islamic world,' he added.

In recent developments, the halal industry has diversified into Halal industrial parks and Halal marketing, said speakers at the forum.

The Halal park is the supply chain and logistics, ports and shipping part of the industry, they explained.

'Halal parks are being developed in partnership with private sector as well as regional development authorities of Malaysia, the UK, the EU, Brazil and other OIC countries.'

'Later, these parks will be linked with regional and international halal parks. Each park will be connected with local livestock farms, enterprise community and the local authorities,' they added.

The services Halal parks provide include: strong support from local government, developed infrastructure, vibrant business Environment for local and foreign investors, educated and skilled workforce, accessible to wide range of Halal finance, Islamic banking and Takaful insurance facilities, availability of R & D facilities, institution of higher learning through strategic partnership besides Halal logistics links -- land, sea and air.

Lately, SAMI, the world's first Halal Food Index was launched in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. It is considered a significant development in the Halal industry. It translates a substantial investing platform is being developed, they added.- TradeArabia News Service

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Publication:TradeArabia (Manama, Bahrain)
Date:Aug 29, 2011
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