SINCE A new and dynamic global halal industry is thriving especially in the world where over 1.6 billion Muslims live, the demand for halal foods and products is getting strong with the passage of time. In countries like Malaysia, the government is pushing hard to make the country a global hub for halal products. However, Pakistan, having over 180 million Muslim population, has a more pure regime where consumption of alcohol along with all other Haram food products like pork are virtually non-existent. Having a huge market for livestock, Pakistan has a tremendous potential to export halal meat and by-products to the world where halal foods are grabbing attraction of consumers. Fresh estimates suggest that the country’s halal industry accounts for $3 trillion. The Punjab government especially has already taken up various projects which are imperative for developing halal value chain especially in the meat sector. With the advent of more and more new players, and with surprisingly robust support from the government, Pakistan is set to become one of the largest players in the meat trade, at least within the Middle East and Southeast Asia. It needs to cash in on the halal food market, at just $640 billion a year worldwide. Statistics show that halal meat is also one of the fastest growing segments within the global food trade. Between 2001 and 2009, the global beef trade grew at an average of 10.4 per cent to reach just over $30 billion. Though Pakistan’s share in the international meat market is only 2.9 per cent, however, in 2009, its red meat exports had risen by an average of 68.6 per cent a year. The Brazilian animal is exactly the same as most of the Pakistani breeds of cattle. Even the quality of meat is the same. The only difference is Brazilians’ ability to market their meat in a better way. The local meat exporters look more interested in multiplying exports of halal meat and by-products especially to the Muslim countries, the government of Pakistan should also come up with offering incentives to them in terms of taxes and duties. At the same time, standardisation and certifications of halal brands and logos which would make Pakistan the hub of halal trade for the world and for the region are yet to be addressed. If this is done, Pakistan’s meat export can swell to $500 million in five years from the present $100 million a year. The government should also take speedy initiatives to cash in on the international halal food market by complying with the international codes as it would not only lead to earning a big foreign exchange but also stabilise the national economy.
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