By Raison D. Arobinto | Halal Section | DTI-Export Marketing Bureau

01 April 2019

Published also in Business Mirror

FOLLOWING the successful participation of 24 Philippine companies to the Malaysian International Halal Showcase (MIHAS) last year, the Philippines hopes to surpass its 2018 record with 26 participating companies with Halal-certified products this year.

Last year, the  Philippine participant-companies realized negotiated sales of $10.4 million. The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), which spearheads the event,  hopes to surpass that figure this year.

MIHAS is an annual four-day gathering of local and international stakeholders of the whole global halal industry with an average trade visitor of more than 20,000 from across the globe. This year, MIHAS will take place at the Malaysia International Trade and Exhibition Centre in Kuala Lumpur from April 3 to  6.

The Philippines has registered a continuous growth of actual and negotiated sales since its participation in 2016. Participating Philippine companies presented halal food and nonfood products, and had representation also from the investments and tourism sectors.

“The Philippine government is developing and promoting the country as a significant player in the global halal ecosystem. By our continued presence in Mihas, we are informing the world that the Philippines is ready to take on a bigger role in the halal industry. This, in turn, would increase our exports of halal products and services, as well as create more jobs for our countrymen, including our Muslim brothers and sisters,” said Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez, who is also the chairman of the Halal Export Board.

Among the halal food to be exhibited in the Philippine pavilion are product variations of coconut, banana, coffee, mango and tuna,  which are included the country’s “Premium 7” food exports. Also included in the showcase are mangosteen, turmeric, cassava, pickled cucumber, polvoron and marine products.

The 19 Philippine food companies joining are Fruits of Life Inc.; Greenlife Coconut Product Philippines Inc.; Castillejos Agri-Farms Inc.; Alter Trade Corp.; MFP Home of Quality Products; Mira’s Turmeric Products; B&C Healthy Snack Foods Inc.; EJT Food Products; Magic Melt Foods Inc.; Gee’s Agri Coco Products; General Nutrifoods Philippines Inc.; Cassava Growers and Processors Association; Baker’s Field Enterprises; RK Trading and Services; Herbio Agrinature Processing Center; Permex Producer and Exporter Corp.; Ahya Coco Organic Food Manufacturing Corp.; Carm Foods Enterprise Inc.; and Aliments Makkhan Bistro and Café.

The seven cosmetic and tourism players are Psalmtre Enterprises Inc.; C&H Cosmetics Industry; Starlder Laboratories Inc.; Asian Halal Centre (ZamboEcoZone); Bloomers Travel and Tours and Universe Islamic Center; Wellness Care Int’l Corp.; and Central Affirmative Co. Inc.

The Philippine delegation is spearheaded by the Department of Trade and Industry-Export Marketing Bureau in collaboration with the Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM), and in partnership with the Philippine Trade and Investment Center (PTIC) in Kuala Lumpur, Department of Agriculture, Department of Tourism Region 12, and DTI Regional Offices 9 and 12.

“Our annual participation has been part of the Philippine government’s efforts to put the country on the map in the global halal ecosystem under our banner program for the Philippine Halal Export Development and Promotion” said Undersecretary Abdugani M. Macatoman, head of the Philippine delegation this year, during the MIHAS 2019 pre-departure meeting of the Philippine delegation held at the DTI-International Building, Makati City, on March 18, 2019.

“This is our way of supporting the Philippines’s small and medium and large processors/suppliers in taking advantage of the growing global demand for halal products through Mihas, where we expect buyers not only from Malaysia but the rest of the participating countries all over the world” he added.

For the investments side, the PTIC in Kuala Lumpur and the Asian Halal Centre (ZamboEcoZone) are leading this segment with the tourism sectors such as the Bloomers Travel and Tours, and Universe Islamic Center with Aliments Makkan Bistro promoting the Philippine halal tourism.

Apart from the trade-related agenda, the Philippine is likewise promoting halal investments and tourism sectors, especially that the Philippines will be hosting the 30th Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games) this year where significant number of Muslim spectators, guests and visitors are expected who most likely would require halal products and services.

As of this writing, preparations for the SEA Games are going on and, as a support, the conduct of the second Philippine National Halal Conference will have segments dedicated for this purpose.

The second Philippine National Halal Conference is a DTI-led major activity for halal this year. A follow-through of the first conference held last year in Davao,  the event will once again gather around 400 global and local major players in the halal industry, including Philippine MSMEs, exporters and would-be-exporters with halal-certified products and services, halal Export Board member-agencies such as the Departments of Tourism, Health, Agriculture, Foreign Affairs, and Science and Technology, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, Mindnao Development Authority, and the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos, DTI Regional Operations Group, local and international or foreign investors, Philippine Halal Certification Bodies, Muslim Religious Leaders, Tourism sector, domestic consumers, academic community and other stakeholders.

The second conference will take place on May 2-3, 2019 in Clark, Pampanga. Interested participants are welcome to contact the Halal Section of the DTI for more details.