Bangladesh becomes the 5th largest country in global Muslim food and beverage consumption market, chairman of Bangladesh Food Safety Authority Syeda Sarwar Jahan said.
As demands of safe and Halal food are increasing day by day, she said food safety has been neglected in developing countries including Bangladesh.
Syeda Sarwar Jahan came up with these observations while addressing a seminar on "Ensuring Safe and Halal Food: present context and necessary measures" organized by Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) at its premises on Saturday.
If we can ensure safe and Halal production of meat, we could have the opportunity to explore new window of international market in Muslim countries, he added.
So, it is high time for us to work together for ensuring safe and Halal food for our life and health as well as for sustainable development, he informed.
DCCI President Osama Taseer said, “Agriculture and food products were the 2nd largest export sector in Bangladesh, exporting $1.4 billion in FY 2018-19 after RMG sector. To expand the export volume and export basket of Bangladesh, we need to ensure quality and standard of our food products.”
He also said that because of weak infrastructure, inadequate eco-system, less standard quality certification and low value addition, we are failing behind in conformity, assessment and losing competitiveness in international market.
The Muslim population will increase 35 percent in the next 20 years across the world, he said adding that, the global Islamic market is around $2.1 trillion which contributes to 11.9 per cent of the world expenditure.
Globally Muslim nations spent $1.3 trillion in 2017 for food and beverages, he mentioned.
He recommended to support private sector in research and capacity building, proper policy support, build international certification process, economic zones dedicated for Halal products and new policy support incorporating scopes and guidelines of Halal business.
Ambassador of UAE in Bangladesh Saed Mohammed Al-Muhairi said that, “The popularity of Halal foods and other consumer items has been rising even among the non-Muslim population around the world as halal foods are hygienic and healthy.”
He said the global consumption value of Halal food increases with 8.14 per cent average growth rate and over the next five years the Halal food market will register a 6.1 percent compound annual growth rate in terms of revenue.
He hopes Bangladesh will soon enter into not only UAE market but also into the global market of Halal products.
Dr AK Obidul Huq, Professor and Chairman, Department of Food Technology and Nutritional Science, Mowlana Bhashani Science & Technology University in his keynote paper said non-Halal food is a threat and risk to the Muslims and harming national economy, trade and tourism.
He recommended for establishing Halal accreditation body, testing laboratories, Halal Processing Zones in Bangladesh.
Dr Samia Abdellatif, Conformity Director, RACS, Dubai, UAE also presented a paper.
She said that for Halal certification, adequate infrastructure and enforcement are needed. Bangladesh has potential to have testing laboratories and Halal accreditation body.
She invited Bangladesh to be an active member of International Halal Association Forum (IHAF).
Deputy Executive Director, ACI Food Limited Anup Kumar Saha, CEO, Bengal Meat AFM Asif, Post-harvest Technology and Management Specialist, Department of Agriculture Extension Dr Md Saleh Ahmed, Former Secretary, ministry Agriculture and Coordinating Director, DCCI Enamul Haque Patwary spoke on the occasion as panel discussants.
The speakers said that we need to learn and adopt technology. Global Halal market is dominated by the non-Muslims, so UAE can assist Bangladesh technically and financially, the speakers urged.
They also urged the government to allocate 10 Economic Zones out of 100 dedicated for Halal food processing.
They also urged to give credit facility and tax incentives to the private sector to promote them coming with investments in this sector.
Coordinating Director, DCCI Agro-based standing committee Enamul Haque Patwary said "food is for life not in exchange of life". We should be stern against food adulteration and contamination to safeguard our future generation, he urged.
Director General of Islamic Foundation Shamim Mohammad Afjal, DCCI Senior Vice President Waqar Ahmad Choudhury, Coordinating Director, DCCI Agro-based standing committee Enamul Haque Patwary, Convenor of DCCI Neyamat Ullah Majumder, Former Directors AKD Khair M Khan, former Senior Vice President MS Shekil Chowdhury, Senior Scientific Officer BCSIR Deepa Islam, DCCI Member MS Siddiqui, Shahjat Ali Khan from Bangladesh Frozen Food Association also spoke on the occasion.