THE agreement on halal food production and promotion forged by the Philippines and Brunei during the state visit of Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah is a momentous one from which Muslim Mindanao can benefit economically.
“Halal” means permissible and in food it refers to the food and drinks whose ingredients and preparations are permissible to be consumed by Muslims under Islamic law as defined by the Koran.
Among food stuff, the halal food industry is the most robust and it is at present a $700 billion industry, of which 65 percent of the demand is coming from Asia.
Thus, opportunities for the Philippines, especially Mindanao, to tap into the halal food market is immense especially since the biggest demand is right in its backyard: Asia.
The memorandum of understanding on halal export development and promotion signed by the Philippines and Brunei does not only mean the infusion of needed capitalization from oil-rich nations, but also the Philippines gaining entry into the Middle East halal food market.
The Philippines, with the help of Brunei, can compete in Halal food production and it must do so now while the production side of the industry is still very young.
Globally, there are 1.6 billion Muslims, each one of whom needs halal food. That is how big this niche market is.