THE Philippines needs to strengthen its efforts to promote the Halal industry in the country with the upcoming Asean integration, an official said.

Yasmin Busran-Lao, secretary of the National Council on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF), said “extra efforts” should be done in order for industry players in the country to be competitive.

“We need to double-up because other countries already have an established Halal industry compared in our country, we still need to promote Halal to our entrepreneurs and consumers,” Lao said.

Asean countries with established Halal industry are Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, among others.

She also said that NCMF takes the lead in promoting Halal nationwide, even as it encourages different sectors to venture into Halal thereby making the country one of the Halal major players in Southeast Asia.

“In our effort to strengthen the Philippine industry we already sought support from different Halal institutions,” she added.

NCMF already sought support from the Islamic Food and Nutrition Council of America, World Halal Food Council, Institute of Islamic Understanding Malaysia, Assessment Institute of Foods, Drugs and Cosmetics – Indonesia Council of Ulama, Majilis Ulama of Singapore, Majilis Ulama of Indonesia, Ilham Daya Consolidate SDN, BHD and other various foreign embassies and consulates to the Philippines.

Lao told reporters that among the challenges in the Philippine Halal industry are awareness, supply of Halal food and products and human resource and technical people for the Halal industry.

At present, economists and policy-makers see the global Halal trade as a US$150 billion industry per year. Meanwhile, NCMF is still gathering data pertaining to the Halal Philippine industry.