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Plans for Halaal agri-processing food park in Western Cape

| Innovation and technology

The Western Cape provincial government is planning to set up a Halaal agri-processing food park which could see the province becoming a major supplier to North African and Middle Eastern countries, where around 20% of the world’s Muslim population reside.

The fast growing global Halaal market is worth $2.3 trillion. The Western Cape provincial government says the proposed Halaal park will allow the province to double its share of that market.

A total of R1bn has been set aside for the proposed food park which could be launched in the next two years. Pre-feasibility studies suggest it could generate up to R5bn for the local economy each year.

Western Cape Economic Opportunities MEC Alan Winde said in a statement on Monday that there are two sites under consideration for the Halaal park, namely the Cape Town International Airport and a site in the Cape Winelands. The park will be a fully Halaal zone and will be a cluster of manufacturing and service firms in the Halaal industry.

"It will present significant opportunities for private sector investment. We also hope to encourage the establishment of a single, globally recognised Halaal certifying body to be based at the park," Mr Winde said.

He said the park which is part of Project Khulisa — the Western Cape’s economic growth strategy — is expected to create 5,000 new jobs in the next five years.

"Project Khulisa has identified agri-processing as a key growth sector with the potential to add up to 100,000 jobs and generate R26bn for the economy under a high-growth scenario. The Halaal park will play an important role in reaching these targets," Mr Winde said.

The MEC added that the provincial government would partner with the Western Cape Fine Foods Initiative, a support body for food producers, and the private sector to develop the park.

Earlier this year Mr Winde led a delegation to Malaysia which strengthened trade links between that country and the Western Cape. The Western Cape Fine Food Initiative and the Malaysian Industry Government Group for High Technology have already signed a co-operation agreement to foster partnerships between the Halaal industries of the two countries.

Nazeem Sterras, CE of Western Cape Fine Food Initiative, said internationally there’s a huge focus on the Halaal industry and Halaal Industrial parks are a key strategic catalyst for economic growth and access to markets.

"It is not just because of the religious or Sharia compliancy but because people are starting to realise that Halaal certified products already provide all the set standards that every human being needs to consider when they consume or use products," he said.

According to Mr Sterras, these key requirements include whether a product is healthy, nutritious, clean, safe and causes no harm to the environment.

"Halaal certification actually provides all these standards already, as part of what we call a lifestyle value proposition. It ticks all the boxes that people want in a good quality product."

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