Halal food industry to hit $8.4 billion by 2020, says minister

Sharjah: The selection of the UAE to chair two major technical committees for Halal standards has reiterated the global significance of the country as an important market and its ascendancy as a Halal hub in the region.

“In recognition of our leading role and expansive experience, the UAE, represented by Emirates Authority for Standardization and Metrology, has been chosen to chair the Halal Food Technical committee by Standards and Metrology Institute for Islamic Countries, a subsidiary of the Organization of Islamic Countries,” said Dr Rashid Ahmed Bin Fahad, UAE Minister of Environment and Water.

The selection also accentuates the importance of the upcoming global Halal trade events Halal Food Middle East and Halal Congress Middle East that will be held at Expo Centre Sharjah from December 10 to 12, 2012.

“Holding Halal Middle East Congress 2012 in the UAE has special significance due to UAE’s well-established economic position and its standing as a regional key market and a logistic hub in the field of Halal food and products’ trade and re-export. Halal food and products trade are expected to grow rapidly from $3.6 billion in 2010 to $8.4 billion in 2020,” said Dr Rashid Ahmed Bin Fahad.

“Featuring renowned experts and scientists from all relevant fields, this congress is certain to be a key contribution to the enhancement of Muslim countries’ abilities to develop the industry of Halal food and products and to improve the tools and mechanisms required to verify compliance with the Islamic Shariah and quality standards so that the growing needs of tens of millions of Muslims around the world for Halal food and products would be properly met,” the minister added.

“This is great news for the UAE, the regional Halal industry as well as the inaugural Halal exhibition and congress. While the selection itself is an international recognition for the UAE, it also underscores the need to raise the standards and certification processes of products and services provided to consumers and facilitate trade between the UAE and other Halal consuming and producing countries,” said Mr Saif Mohammed Al Midfa, Director-General, Expo Centre Sharjah.

The UAE was granted a three-year chairmanship of the first technical committee for Halal food standards set up by Organisation of Islamic Cooperation at a recent meeting in Turkey. The country was also selected as Chairman of the Halal cosmetics committee.

“The recognition also assumes significance since the population here is mainly Muslim and the region is close to several countries with large Muslim population such as those in the Indian sub-continent and the CIS. Besides, it has come at a time when GCC countries are considering asking importers to put a ‘Halal’ stamp on all meats to ensure quality and Shariah-compliance,” said Mr Midfa.

Now, the global Halal food industry will be looking more eagerly at the Halal exhibition and congress at expo centre to drive up trade and draw up a common global standard for Halal certification. Reflecting the huge prospects for the global Halal food industry, total food import to the Gulf region is set to double over the decade from US$25.8 billion in 2010 to US$53.1 billion in 2020, according to estimates by the Economist Intelligence Unit.

According to another forecast, consumption of food in the region could reach 51 million tonnes in 2020, with average annual growth of 4.6 per cent.

The patronage of His Highness Dr Sheikh Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qassimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah and the support of the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Federation of UAE Chambers of Commerce and Industry to the Halal events also underscore the UAE’s move to become a key player in the regional and global Halal market.

The events also have acquired the support of several key international bodies to promote as well as co-organize them, such as Halal Development Council of Pakistan and OIC’s Islamic Centre for Development of Trade, among several others.

About Halal Food Middle East 2012:
The Halal Food ME will be organized by Expo Centre Sharjah in association with the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry at Expo Centre Sharjah from December 10 to 12, 2012. The show is positioned as the largest and the most comprehensive show of its kind in the region.

About Halal Congress Middle East 2012:
The Halal Congress Middle East is jointly organized by Expo Centre Sharjah and the Halal Development Council of Pakistan and will be held at Expo Centre Sharjah on December 11 and 12, 2012. It will enable professionals and decision-makers to identify investment, joint venture and trading opportunities in the Middle East and North Africa region, the Indian subcontinent, Central Asia, Afghanistan and OIC countries.