State-owned enterprises minister Rini Soemarno said the world’s most populous Muslim nation stood to become a dominant halal exporter only if its food companies could show that their products were acceptable for Muslims outside the archipelago by having them certified.
"We are encouraging international halal food product certification, so that our food products become popular abroad," Soemarno said.
She added that by applying for international halal standards, such as the certification offered by Malaysia, which is fast becoming the go-to badge for the Islamic food industry, SMEs stand be become more “qualified, resilient and creative, as well as competitive in the international market”.
Indonesia has an enormous food industry, but no halal certification of its own. As a result, products from Indonesia are not officially viewed as halal when they leave its ports, forcing manufacturers to miss out on a booming market of an estimated 1.9bn global Muslim consumers.
An authoritative ThomsonReuters analysis has predicted the global halal food market to be worth some US$2.5tr by 2019—up from US$795bn in 2014 and equating to 21.2% of global food expenditure.
Indonesia’s government, along with food agencies and Islamic bodies, is currently speaking to other nations as it ponders its own halal certification strategy, Soemarno said.
"In Saudi Arabia, for instance, the government will give halal certification for Indonesian food products, so that they can be marketed in the country.
“We must be able to produce and export halal-certified food products, much more than other countries," she added.
More stories from Southeast Asia…
Hanoi ramps up local agri-inspections due to lack of safe local food
Hanoi’s city’s authorities have ordered agriculture officials to double down on food inspections to increase the amount of safe local food available.
The Hanoi People’s Committee also demanded the tightening of the management of wholesale markets in the city, as well as the monitoring of canteens.
Markets supply the Vietnamese capital’s 7.5m residents each day with 800-1,000 tonnes of meat, 340-400 tonnes of seafood and 2,500 tonnes of vegetables, though there has been a massive shortfall in local production.
Many areas around Hanoi are zoned for agriculture, though there have been mounting problems concerning food safety, blamed on how production and distribution is managed and monitored.
Currently, areas around Hanoi can only meet 60% of demand for food and 18% for fruit and vegetables, leaving other localities and imports to take the slack.
According to inspections, pesticide residues were found in 11 vegetable samples in 110 production facilities across the city.
El Niño disruption causes palm kernel prices to double
Palm kernel oil prices have almost doubled in 2016 to their highest levels in more than five years due to the impact of the El Niño weather phenomenon in the Pacific ocean, which slashed production.
Prices grew by 30% in the last quarter of 2016 alone due to short supplies. Such shortages are expected until the second half of the current season in 2017, predicted Mintec, a commodities analyst
Production throughout the year fell 3% to 7.1m tonnes, breaking the steady growth trend of previous years.
Exports from major producers Indonesia and Malaysia over the first nine months of 2016 were down 12% year on year at 1.9m tonnes, leading to the initial price increases.
Global production for the coming year is forecast to recover 7% to 7.6m tonnes, though Mintec said the majority of this growth will not be realised until much later in 2017.