If we are to take anything from the suggestion of former Vice President (VP) of the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry Meher Kashif Younis’, of capturing the international halal market, it is that there is still hope for Pakistan and its economic woes provided we look in the right directions. We already have all the mechanisms in place to provide for such a lucrative section of global trade. So what is stopping us? The authorities must be pushed towards this trajectory considering the limitless potential it has.
There is no denying that the Muslim population is widely spread across the globe, and is in fact growing at exceptional rates. This means that most countries have to make provisions to provide safe and halal food to their citizens, requiring them to import all kinds of food items. Currently, it seems as though Europe is fulfilling this demand since it is generating almost 80 percent of all global halal revenue. This is rather unfortunate when factoring in that Muslim-majority countries like ourselves exclusively produce halal food. The only barrier to entry is to qualify for international certifications; something we should be able to do If we rigorously follow international quality control standards and halal parameters with the utmost transparency. We should be at the forefront of such industries and there is little stopping us currently.
According to the former VP, Pakistan will be able to make at least $5 to 6 billion annually if it starts exporting halal products to the world. This is a sizable portion of the entire $3 trillion industry and would allow the country to improve its trade deficit and current account deficit.
There is an immediate need for all experts to divert their attention towards boosting the export of good quality halal food in particular since they have a high demand in China and other Far East countries that we can provide to easily. Collaborating with the private sector can be beneficial since a profit-oriented approach can be adopted and effective policies can be drafted and implemented to keep this line of trade operation in the long run. On its own, the government must also offer incentives for local producers to manufacture and export halal products internationally by either providing subsidies or reducing taxes.