MALAYSIA, in aiming to be the regional hub for halal products, is targeting to satisfy at least 5% of the fast growing halal food market currently worth US$346.7bil worldwide, said International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Rafidah Aziz.
If we target just 5% of this market, it would be worth US$17.3bil to our exporters and thats just for food alone, said Rafidah, who estimated the total market size to further grow to US$456.6bil by 2005. The potential is quite big, she said of the market of over two billion Muslims worldwide.
After chairing the second meeting of the National Consultative Committee (NCC) on trade and industry in Kuala Lumpur yesterday, Rafidah said some Malaysian companies were already reaping the benefits of exporting processed halal foods.
We have some companies which are now selling RM180mil-RM200mil (worth of halal food products) per year, she said, adding that markets such as China, Europe, India, Pakistan and other Asian countries were seen good potentials for such exports.
Malaysia exported, on average, RM4.2bil worth of processed food per year during the period 1997-2001, she said.
The NCC meeting, attended by top level representatives from all states, as well as relevant ministries and government departments, had agreed that in order for Malaysia to achieve the halal product hub status, there was a need to harmonise procedures and coordinate measures for halal certification at both the federal and state levels.
Rafidah said practical issues and problems pertaining to the halal logo, certification charges and application procedures were discussed in yesterdays meeting. These should be simplified to avoid confusion, she said, stressing that the cost of certification should also not be prohibitive in order that Malaysian industry can remain competitive in the global marketplace.
To that end, Rafidah said a coordination committee, comprising all relevant federal and state departments, would be established soon to look into the technical aspects of halal requirements, including compliance with food safety and hygiene requirements under the Hygiene Analysis and Critical Control Points standards.
Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin had said earlier that Malaysia had been approached by certain countries, including China, for co-operation in the production and certification of halal food products as the certification issued by their Islamic authorities was not recognised by some other Muslim countries.
He had said that as a hub, Malaysia could become an accreditation and standards centre as well as carry out transhipment and production of halal food.