Dateline Southeast Asia

Indonesia hints at halal mark, urges firms to target Islamic market

By RJ Whitehead

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Food

© iStock
© iStock
As Indonesia continues to miss out on the lucrative global halal market, Jakarta has begun drumming up support among SMEs to certify their halal from overseas bodies before exporting their products.

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. 

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