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Filipino Muslim affairs agency sets out to develop halal agro-industry in Philippines

MANILA: Muslim authorities in the Philippines are working to develop agro-industrial hubs dedicated to halal products throughout the country, the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos said on Monday.

Muslims make up over 6 percent of the Philippines’ nearly 110 million, predominantly Catholic population. Most live on the island of Mindanao and the Sulu archipelago in the country’s south, as well as the central-western province of Palawan.

NCMF, the body governing Muslim affairs in the Philippines, has set eyes on developing halal agro-industrial hubs to also support Manila’s efforts to expand Filipino presence in the global halal market.

“The implementation of halal agro-industrial hubs in the 17 regions across the country will produce halal food and non-food products for local consumption and for exportation,” NCMF spokesman Yusoph Mando told Arab News on Monday.

“This will create hundreds of thousands of jobs and means of livelihood for the jobless Filipinos, Muslims and Christians alike,” he said, adding that the halal agro-industrial hubs can be established in a number of areas across the country, including in its largest and most populous island of Luzon.

“The halal industry is growing in the Philippines and (the country is) considered to be a potential key player in the halal industry globally because of its rich natural resources, strategic location, and growing population.”

The Philippines dispatched a special trade mission to member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council in February, aimed at promoting halal-certified food from the Southeast Asian nation.

It was later followed by the Philippine Economic Zone Authority announcing in May that it would promote the domestic halal industry to tap into the rapidly growing regional and global markets, estimated to be worth more than $7 trillion.

The halal industry potential was also a focus for President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. during his state visit to Malaysia in July, during which he sought to forge synergies to tap into the global market opportunities.

NCMF is keen on supporting the Philippine halal industry as it is part of the agency’s mission to address the needs of Filipino Muslim communities as well as national development goals.

“NCMF is (aiming) to improve the Muslim Filipino communities’ capacities through catch-up development programs, activities, and projects, a dream that will need the support of Philippine legislators and public offices,” Mando said.

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