Cabinet sees nation as halal hub

Cabinet sees nation as halal hub

A visitor looks at food items at a halal food fair. The export value of halal food products for the first 11 months of 2023 amounted to 217 billion baht, a 2.6% gain year-on-year. (Photo: Apichart Jinakul)
A visitor looks at food items at a halal food fair. The export value of halal food products for the first 11 months of 2023 amounted to 217 billion baht, a 2.6% gain year-on-year. (Photo: Apichart Jinakul)

The cabinet approved initiatives to make Thailand a halal hub in Southeast Asia by 2028, intending to raise the country's GDP by 1.2%, equivalent to 55 billion baht.

Speaking after the weekly cabinet meeting on Tuesday, Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin said as part of the initiatives, the government would establish a national halal industry committee and the Thai Halal Industry Centre to promote Thai food products and goods internationally, while aiming to enhance tourism.

Mr Srettha said he discussed with the King of Brunei and the prime minister of Malaysia jointly developing a halal food centre.

Once the industry committee and the halal centre are established, it should improve the national economy, he said.

The global market value of halal businesses is estimated at US$2.1 trillion, with growth averaging 7.5% annually.

However, Thailand's share of this market has decreased to 2.7%, down from 4.1% recorded a decade ago.

Thailand's export value of halal food products the first 11 months of 2023 amounted to 217 billion baht, a 2.6% gain year-on-year.

The majority of these exports were in the naturally halal food group, including rice, grains and sugar cane. There are 15,043 halal food producers and more than 3,500 halal food establishments in Thailand.

"Thailand still has many opportunities based on our potential," said Mr Srettha.

"The government is fully committed to establishing halal industry centres and expanding the halal product market, especially efforts to make Thailand a global halal kitchen."

Rudklao Suwankiri, deputy government spokesperson, said Thailand's halal product development still faces a lot of challenges because of decentralised promotion across numerous agencies, and a lack of responsibility among agencies and halal standard certification units that pose obstacles for entrepreneurs.

The effort to elevate Thailand as a hub for halal products by 2028 focuses on five product categories: food, fashion, pharmaceuticals and herbal products, cocoa, and services and tourism.

The five-year plan is projected to increase GDP by 1.2%, equivalent to 55 billion baht, while creating an estimated 100,000 jobs per year, she said.

According to Ms Rudklao, the initiatives will be driven through three key measures: promoting demand; supporting supply; and enhancing environmental standards as well as promoting investment in the halal industry.

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