KUALA LUMPUR - The Malaysian halal industry can be lifted to a higher level based on the positive response received from trade buyers and conference participants at the just concluded World Halal Week 2016.
The event was hosted by the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (Miti) with the Malaysia International Halal Showcase (Mihas) being part of it.
Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (Matrade) Chief Executive Officer Datuk Dzulkifli Mahmud said Mihas, in its 13th year, is a key part of the country's marketing strategy, and raked in RM1.1 billion in sales in 2015.
He said 531 companies from 29 countries participated in this year's exhibition which included food producers and service providers with sales continued to be encouraging, despite challenges facing the global economy.
"On March 29, a pre-arranged business-matching session, the International Sourcing Programme, involving 391 foreign buyers from 40 countries and over 600 Malaysian-registered companies, registered RM480 million in sales which is an eight per cent increase from the previous year.
"Mihas registered about RM500 million in sales for the first three days of the showcase and the final figure will be known later," he told reporters.
He said the Halal Council, to be headed by Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, would address wider issues pertaining to the halal industry and take it to a higher level.
"Matrade will also work with various government bodies to increase the number of Malaysian products to be internationally accredited and be export ready," added Dzulkifli.
Earlier, at a conference session, Miti Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed said the halal industry would continue to be driven by the growing Muslim population and consumer purchasing power.
"Malaysia's export of halal products has been growing steadily by between RM4 billion and RM5 billion annually and Malaysia is also strong in Islamic Finance.
"The nation now needs to see beyond and broadened halal economy ecosystems, like halal logistics and transportation, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics and the tourism industry," Mustapa said.
Meanwhile, Shapers Malaysia Sdn Bhd Chief Executive Officer and Mihas founder Datuk Mohd Shukri Abdullah said, the trend in seeing more non-Muslim majority countries embracing the demand for halal is a testament to the growth in the trade.
"The show is maturing and halal is a global agenda. Mihas is getting better with an increasing number of specially built booths used, compared to normal shell scheme booths.
"More exhibitors are willing to spend on booths that cost them over RM80,000 while 67 per cent of them are repeat exhibitors," he told Bernama.
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