Halal product certification will boost Nigeria’s agricultural sector: minister

By Chinenye Offor

Amb. Mariam Katagum, Minister of State, Industry, Trade and Investment, said certification of halal products would boost investment in Nigeria’s agricultural sector and create wealth for the country.

Katagum said this during the inauguration of a 14-member technical committee on developing a roadmap and operational framework for halal certification in Nigeria.

The minister said it was necessary for Nigeria to jump into the huge and profitable Halal market economy, adding that the certification would give Nigerian-made products a boost in the global market.

Halal products are products that comply with all food safety, hygiene and health regulations, with a composition that does not contain any ingredient prohibited by Muslims.

According to her, there is a growing demand for halal certified products around the world, especially among the large Muslim population in the Middle East, North Africa, others who presented a lucrative chain for the food market.

“To date, the global consumer base of Halal products is estimated at approximately 1.9 billion Muslims in 112 countries and the Halal market is estimated at US$2.6 trillion.

“The Halal market is a huge and profitable segment of the economy. We therefore cannot ignore the importance of assuring our local and international consumers that our products are Halal certified.

“Such certification will boost our products in local and international markets. It aims to increase patronage and consumption of products from Nigeria not only by Muslims but also by non-Muslims,” she said.

“The ministry has proactively decided to set up a committee to address the lack of synergy in the establishment of halal standards in the country as well as Nigeria’s inability to tap into the global halal market.

“Everyone must be on deck to ensure that Nigeria takes advantage of the huge halal market for maximum benefits.

“The members of the Technical Committee have been carefully selected to develop the operational and strategic framework for Nigeria’s Halal certification process and to establish Nigeria as a hub for Halal products in Africa,” she said.

Katagum therefore advised the members of the committee to diligently carry out their mission, in order to provide appropriate recommendations that would lead to the policy direction aimed at strengthening Nigeria’s halal sector.

Ms. Evelyn Ngige, the permanent staff of the ministry, said the inauguration of the technical committee was a demonstration of the ministry’s commitment to ensuring that Nigeria benefits from the halal industry.

Ngige, represented by the Director of Commodities and Trade at the Ministry, Mr. Sulieman Audu, said there is a need to leverage Halal products and services for export to increase foreign exchange earnings.

She said the inauguration of the committee was imperative as the ministry recognized that existing challenges abound due to the lack of halal certifications on our products, thus limiting the benefits to the nation.

According to her, this is in line with the economic diversification program of the current administration, which seeks to develop the non-oil sector.

“We need to leverage the Halal products and services sector for export to increase our foreign exchange earnings, create additional jobs and wealth for the nation.”

She said the committee was committed to diligently carrying out its mission to elevate Nigeria’s position among halal exporters globally and especially in Africa.

Ngige assured the committee of the ministry’s support to ensure that the committee carried out its work without hindrance.

Mr. Nour Hanga, chairman of the committee, commended the ministry for its efforts to develop a robust halal industry in Nigeria.

Hanga said the global demand for halal products has seen continuous growth and could provide huge benefits to Nigerian businesses.

“In many parts of the world today, consumers are not just buying food products, but buying natural and organic halal products for health and safety, among other things.

“The global halal food market recorded sales of $1.9 trillion in 2020 and is expected to reach $2.9 trillion by 2024.

“This growing market is borderless and therefore ready to do business with Nigeria,” he said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that committee members were drawn from key Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and the organized private sector involved in the halal value chain.

The ministries are Industry, Trade and Investment, Agriculture and Rural Development, Standards Organization of Nigeria (SON), Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), Small and Medium Enterprises of Nigeria (SMEDAN).

The others are the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), the Federation of Agricultural Commodities Associations of Nigeria and the Supreme Council of Nigeria for Islamic Affairs.

The others are Halal Certification Authority, Halal Compliance Food Safety Limited, Jaiz International Halal Certification and Halal Certification Center Nigeria Limited. (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)

Lana T. Arthur