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Cape set for halaal industry exports boost

| Economic factors

The Western Cape is set to take advantage of the massive growth potential in the halaal goods export market, worth $2.3 trillion globally and in which the province has already managed to establish a toe-hold.

In the pipeline is a dedicated halaal agri-processing park here, with provincial economic planners preparing the province to better exploit high demand in the multi-billion rand markets of Africa and the Middle East.

This emerges from Economic Opportunities MEC Alan Winde’s visit this month to the United Arab Emirates and Malaysia. He believes that while Western Cape halaal products already enjoy some standing internationally, with the right initiatives in place, local producers could make much more of the potential for growth.

Boosting agri-processing emerged as a key feature of the Western Cape’s Project Khulisa, an economic planning initiative aimed at identifying sectors capable of delivering the most growth and job creation, and fine-tuning strategies to promote them.

Winde told Weekend Argus that African demand for halaal products was estimated at $750 billion, but that “only $36bn of halaal-branded products are going into that market, so there’s the demand, but not the supply”.

That was set to change with new initiatives to boost halaal agri-processing and trade agreements with export partners.

“While I was in Dubai, I flew to Kuala Lumpur for a day to attend the signing of a memorandum of agreement between our local agri-processing organisation, Fine Foods, and the Malaysian halaal food industry.

“They are potential investment partners, so the scope for our playing a much stronger role is very big… there are huge possibilities,” he said.

With this in mind, provincial economic planners were investigating a possible halaal agri-processing park.

“This would enable agri-processing factories to form a cluster operating in one space. There’s scope for incentivising business, so that international and local companies will be keener to jump in, and existing companies will feel more confident about reinvesting, particularly in an environment of uncertainty and lack of confidence, given what’s been going on in the country.”

His ministry would “now start doing some business plans and investigation into potential products”.

“We need to see where there are gaps that local producers can fill, and how we can compete, and then make this information available so that entrepreneurs out there can pick up the opportunities and run with them.”

Weekend Argus 

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