Friday, August 29, 2008

Halal Board Holds Meeting With Poultry, Food Firms In Mindanao

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / August 27, 2008) - Aware of the huge market potential of Halal products here and abroad, the Muslim Mindanao Halal Certifying Board, Inc. (MMHCBI) met with the Northern Mindanao Poultry Growers' Association in Cagayan de Oro City in compliance with the Philippine Halal Standards in food and non-products preparation.

Ustadz Esmael Ebrahim, spokesperson for the MMHCBI, said the Philippines' Halal certifying body, which is based in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, also conducted a briefing with the representatives of prominent industry trademarks on the religious and technical aspects of producing Halal foods.

He said those who attended the meeting were members of the Mindanao Poultry Growers' Association, particularly the San Miguel Corporation's sister company Magnolia, Swift, Bounty-Agro Ventures, Inc. Fresh and Vista de Rio Farms.

Food companies have sought to enrich their technologies' research and development for a market expansion that has to have strict compliance with the Philippine Halal Products Standards. By doing so, they are aiming for a fair share in the global Halal market, now worth $ 150 billion in international food trade statistics.

Poultry production is fast becoming an investment opportunity in the BIMP-EAGA, the ARMM, and in other parts of the country. Muslim countries, such as those in the Middle East, have a high demand for Halal products, meaning those that are processed in accordance with Islamic laws and tradition.

Getting a Halal certification from the MMHCB for both food and non-food products like cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, among others, will benefit both Muslims and non-Muslims alike, as this means that the said products comply with international standards.

These standards are: HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control for Products); GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices, both prerequisite BFAD certification) and ISO (International Standardization Organization).

The MMHCBI, which crafted the Philippine Halal Products Standards, is composed of five muftis (Guardians of House of Opinion) of the ARMM provinces and food technologists, chemists, nutritionists and scientists highly-respected in their fields of expertise on both the Islamic Sharia law and food science.

The Local Governance Support Program in the ARMM (LGSPA) has aided the MMHCBI in numerous areas of capacity-building and institutional linkages, resulting among others to the crafting of the Philippine Halal Standards and its acceptance by Muslim religious authorities and food experts here and abroad. LGSPA is the capacity-building program of the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA).

The MMHCB has also had the recognition of its equally reputable counterparts in Malaysia and Thailand with which it had entered into memorandums of understanding and agreements for a continuing working cooperation.

Ebrahim said the meeting, convened by the Mindanao Economic Development Council (MEDCo), was also attended by officials and representatives of the Department of Trade and Industry in the ARMM, the Department of Agriculture and Food in ARMM; the ARMM Regional Board of Investment, and national officials of the Department of Agriculture, the National Coordinator for Philippine Halal Industry Development and MEDCo officials.

With its aim to enable the country to get a share from the huge global market for Halal, the meeting was organized by the Department of Agriculture (DA) in Region 10, through DA Region 12 Assistant Director Ismael Mustapfa, the government's National Coordinator for its Halal Industry Development Program. (N.Maulana)

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