UAE’s halal push boosts Sharjah event

The growing role of the UAE as a hub of Islamic economy and the great impact it will have on the global halal trade has resulted in a halal event in Sharjah seeing an impressive rise in industry participation from across the globe.

The 2nd OIC Halal Middle East Exhibition and Congress, held along with the 1st Kitchen Equipment and Technology Exhibition Middle East, attracted more participation with both exhibitor and visitor numbers increasing by 25 per cent.

Held under the patronage of HH Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, at Expo Centre Sharjah, the event hosted 125 exhibitors, as against last year’s 100, and registered a footfall of 2,686, compared to 2,162 in 2012.

"Ever since the UAE has started playing a pro-active role in the halal trade and standardisation initiatives, global attention is on us. A slew of key initiatives and events were announced and organised recently that aim to make the country the Islamic economic hub. And, I am happy to note that we succeeded in attracting the trade community, Sharia scholars, government authorities and various industry bodies from across the world to Sharjah," said Saif Mohammed Al Midfa, CEO, Expo Centre Sharjah.

"The rise in exhibitor and visitor numbers is a proof that the event has succeeded in making a great impact in the international halal community," added Midfa.

Halal bodies from various countries accorded great significance to the event, since it provided a platform to boost bilateral trade.

"Halal Middle East enabled us to engage in unique business deals and networking, where Malaysian companies could meet their UAE counterparts to facilitate the import and distribution of their products in Malaysia and vice-versa," said Nurul Asyiha Binti Husin, Executive Members Affair, Malaysian Franchise Association.

The special pavilions at the show included those by the Ministry of Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism-Malaysia; State Government of Penang; Korea Halal Association; Embassy of The Republic of Indonesia and the Indonesian Trade Promotion Centre; Japan Halal Association; Sudan Halal Development Authority; and Sanha – South African National Halal Association, among others.

Most participants, including local manufacturers and dealers, made optimum use of the platform to gain better penetration in the overall GCC food market that stood at US$83 billion in 2012.

"The show is important for us because it offers important information on growing trends and investment opportunities in the halal sector, and allows us to cater more effectively to our top three markets in the region -- KSA, UAE and Bahrain," said Khaleel Ur Rahman Thayal, Assistant Brand Manager, Supreme Foods Group.

About 225 delegates from 40 countries, including leading halal certification experts and some of the biggest names in the halal industry, congregated at Expo Centre Sharjah for the Halal Congress, presenting, discussing and debating a slew of issues ranging from lack of common halal codes to growth prospects and certification norms to halal procedures.