Malaysian SMEs urged to get halal certificationBy Zurinna Raja Adam
KUALA LUMPUR: Local small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), including Muslim entrepreneurs, are urged to get halal certification to seize lucrative opportunities in the global halal sector.
Muslim SMEs should discard the assumption that their customers would believe their products are halal by virtue of being muslims.
Founder-director of the World Halal Forum (WHF) Jumaatun Azmi said there is still a significant gap in the implementation of halal standards by the local SMEs.
"The big players have already begun reaping profit from the lucrative potentials within the burgeoning global halal market, but SMEs have limited resources to deal with the standards," she said.
According to Jumaatun, the lack of participation among SMEs to get halal certification is because the muslim halal players feel that by virtue of being muslim entrepreneurs, their customers are led to believe that their products are halal.
Although the government and private sector have done so much to create the awareness and demand for halal products, Malaysian SMEs will lose out if they fail to comply with food safety standards.
While this is taking place, neighbouring countries like Thailand, whose SMEs are actively complying with the food safety standards and having the halal certification as a value-add to their products, is fast creating a stronger foothold within the halal industry.
The Halal Industry Development Corporation is projecting a 10 per cent growth in Malaysia's halal exports this year to RM33 billion, or about six per cent of total exports.
It was reported that the global halal food market is more than US$800 billion (RM2.42 trillion), while the market value of halal products in Malaysia is estimated at RM30 billion (RM90.6 billion) last year.
International Halal Integrity (IHI) Alliance chief executive officer Darhim Hashim said the seventh WHF this year hopes to see more participation among local SMEs to educate themselves on the opportunities in the international market for halal products and services, the challenges as well as support system available in this lucrative market.
IHI, an international non-profit organisation responsible to create halal market concept in global trade, is the host for this year's WHF.
The WHF 2012 will be held on April 2 and April 3 in Kuala Lumpur in conjunction with Malaysia Halal Week 2012, to be held from April 4 to April 7, and the World Halal Research Summit, which will be held on April 4 and April 5.