Expand global halal export market reach, Zahid tells bumiputra entrepreneurs


KUALA LUMPUR: Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has urged bumiputra entrepreneurs to expand their reach in the global halal export market, moving beyond the food and beverage (F&B) sector into segments like ingredients, cosmetics, and pharmaceuticals.

According to the Deputy Prime Minister, the global demand for halal products is steadily increasing, with projections estimating a market worth US$5 trillion by 2030.

"We have to look within the context of halal product exports, given that the global market for such exports was valued at US$3 trillion in 2023...quite a substantial amount and it is anticipated to reach US$5 trillion by 2030," he told Bernama in a special interview in conjunction with the Bumiputera Economic Congress 2024 recently.

Ahmad Zahid, who is also the Malaysia Halal Council chairman, said that bumiputra entrepreneurs should be aware of the vastness of the global halal market, which sees demand stemming from both Muslim and non-Muslim consumers who place importance on cleanliness.

"Therefore, we should continue to encourage Bumiputera entrepreneurs to not only sell their products domestically but also to explore international markets," he said.

Based on data, the global Muslim market represented 24% of the world's population in 2022, amounting to 1.9 billion people, and is forecast to reach 2.2 billion individuals by 2030.

At the same time, Ahmad Zahid, who is also the Rural and Regional Development Minister, reminded bumiputra entrepreneurs against adopting the 3T or "Tanam, Tinggal and Tuai" (Plant, Leave and Harvest) concept, especially within the halal ingredients sector.

"Without fertilisers or any other means of support, how do we anticipate meeting the growing demand for supplies? For example, if there's a request for 10 containers of lemongrass powder monthly, how can we meet the demand if even half of the container cannot be filled?

"As for halal ingredient producers, 87% are currently controlled by non-bumiputra entrepreneurs...so I urge all producers of halal products to be more aware of this. Do not treat the products we make as mere part-time ventures.

"With the grants and training available, we must seize this opportunity to transition from micro-entrepreneurs to medium entrepreneurs and export products through Matrade (the Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation), HDC (the Halal Development Corporation Bhd), and participation in Mihas (the Malaysia International Halal Showcase) and Halfest (Halal Fiesta Malaysia)," he said.

Ahmad Zahid also said that he has asked the Islamic Development Department of Malaysia (Jakim) to accelerate the issuance of halal certificates to bumiputra entrepreneurs, under the condition that they fulfil the guidelines outlined by the agency.

In a presentation during the Bumiputera Economic Congress 2024 on Feb 29, Mydin Mohamed Holdings Bhd managing director Datuk Dr Ameer Ali Mydin suggested that a tier system and "green lane" be established for bumiputra entrepreneurs to obtain halal certification.

He said that based on data, only 3,562 bumiputra companies obtained halal certification compared to 5,600 non-bumiputra companies in 2023.

Ameer Ali said out of this total, 6,857 are micro-enterprises and 1,155 are small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), while 1,150 are multinational companies.

Meanwhile, Ahmad Zahid said the Rural and Regional Development Ministry has divided halal certification applications into four categories, namely High Critical, Critical, Semi-Critical, and Green Lane.

"Certification schemes placed under the High Critical category, with a maximum application review period of 14 working days, cover food and beverage products, cosmetics, consumer goods, medical devices, pharmaceuticals, and food premises (hotel/ convention kitchen/ hospital).

"For applications categorised as Critical, the review period will be a maximum of 10 working days. Certification schemes falling under this category include pharmaceuticals (traditional category and health supplements), as well as food premises (chain restaurants, restaurants, kiosks, mobile premises, and bakeries).

"For Semi-Critical applications, the maximum review period would be five days, while for Green Lane category applications, it would be three working days," he said.

Malaysia has been a global market leader in the halal food industry and has secured the top position in the Global Islamic Economy Index for nine consecutive years.

In 2022, the total halal export value was RM59.46bil, contributing 7.4% to the country's gross domestic product. - Bernama

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