Thailand has great potential for producing and exporting more halal food to the international market, especially ASEAN countries.
Thailand and Malaysia have discussed ways to cooperate more closely in developing the halal industry and upgrading quality standards.
Deputy Prime Minister and Finance said that he had discussed the issue with Dato Seri Jamil Bidin, Chief Executive Officer of Malaysia’s Halal Industry Development Corporation. Today, Malaysia has become one of the world’s major halal exporters, with annual exports of about 11 billion US dollars.
As for Thailand, he said, Thai halal food exports came to about six billion dollars a year. Malaysia is certain that Thailand could double its halal export value. According to Mr. Kittiratt, Malaysia is willing to offer assistance to Thailand in halal development. In the next step, both countries will discuss the setting of a joint working group to develop this industry.
He explained that halal is not merely a food industry but a way of life. If Thai entrepreneurs gained a better understanding about halal, they would have greater opportunities for this business. He cited Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, and Malaysia, where people are mainly Muslims, as major markets for halal food in ASEAN.
Muslim Thais live in all provinces nationwide and that Thai entrepreneurs would be able to expand the accessibility of halal food, if they had better understanding about this way of life.
Domestic consumption of halal food in Thailand accounts for only 5 percent of production. Apart from ASEAN countries, other markets for Thai halal food include Nigeria, Oman, and countries in the Middle East. There is potential for Thailand to have a greater share of the world food market, considering the country’s strengths in the agricultural sector. The high quality standard in the Thai halal food industry is another advantage.
Moreover, the Government has a policy to promote halal production and exports. It offers special privileges for investors wishing to invest in the Halal Food Industrial Estate, located in Panare district of Pattani province in the South.
It is expected by the year 2020, the population of Muslims in the world will be about two billion people, accounting for 25 percent of the world’s population. Halal food production and exports would receive greater attention.
Director of the National Food Institute Petch Chinabutr said that apart from cooperating with Malaysia in developing halal products, Thailand and Malaysia should jointly build the ASEAN brand of halal in an effort to open up more markets in the world, which has the market size of one trillion dollars. Thai-Malaysian cooperation in halal development is seen as a strategy by which two ASEAN countries can make halal food more widely available.