ECER In Pact With UDM To Develop Halal

2/16/2009 — Press Release
The East Coast Economic Region Development Council (ECERDC) has kick started the development of the region’s halal industry by signing an agreement with the University Darul Iman Malaysia (UDM).
The agreement will cement the commitment of ECERDC to initiate all projects lined up under each of the three UDM’s Centres of Excellence, including the Regional Centre for Halal Products, the Centre for Bio-Technology and Herbal Products and the Centre of Industry Academia Collaboration.
The agreement will assist the ECER in carving out a competitive edge in the halal food industry via the development of a regional centre for halal products and a centre for bio-technology and herbal products.
The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signing ceremony between UDM and ECERDC was witnessed by Terengganu Menteri Besar, YAB Datuk Ahmad Bin Said.
Under the ECER master plan, UDM is the centre of excellence for the advancement of halal products in the region.
“The first initiative is today’s seminar to introduce to small to mid-sized firms, the services provided by UDM as the regional centre for halal products and centre for bio-technology and herbal products,” said Datuk Jebasingam Issace John, Chief Executive of ECERDC.
“These services include the provision of equipped halal and herbal laboratories for ingredient and composition testing, an advisorial role in helping SMEs in the ECER attain their halal certification as well as boost their participation in the bio-technology and herbal industry.
“As a centre of excellence, UDM will help SME food producers to enhance food safety as well as the quality of halal products in the ECER to be marketed globally.
“With R&D, more SMEs can also tap into the lucrative business of halal food processing, cosmetics, medical supplies, among others. As a direct result of this, ECER will be able to generate more employment and sustain entrepreneurial opportunities,” he said.
UDM’s Regional Centre for Halal Products will facilitate quality control for livestock products, food hygiene and handling.
It will also extend assistance in the development of new products; marketing, branding and packaging as well as providing R&D, services and training support.
Meanwhile, the Centre for Bio-technology and Herbal Products will help increase R&D efforts and maintain a research programmes to boost agriculture and forest science.
Research in bio-tech will be directed at agriculture while herbal research will be largely focused on forest based resources.
The centre will collaborate with industry, and maintain a strong research team consisting scientists in a wide range of disciplines such as agronomy, microbiology, biochemistry, etc.
Its research findings will be promoted via teaching programmes, academic journals and marketing promotions.
According to the Ministry of International Trade and Industry, Malaysia is positioning itself to be a major halal player. Trade in the halal industry is one of the fastest growing business sectors for Malaysia.
Under the Ninth Malaysia Plan (9MP), a total of RM112 million has been allocated for the development of halal food industry.
In the ECER, these allocations include RM17 million for Pasir Mas and Pengkalan Chepa in Kelantan, RM10 million for Chendering in Terengganu, and RM11 million for Gambang in Pahang, for the development of halal parks.
The global halal market is estimated to be worth US$580 billion. Export of processed food to the Organisation of Islamic Countries (OIC), increased by 26.2 per cent from RM1.18 billion to RM2.29 billion in 2007.
The major export items were dairy products which increased by 115 per cent to RM426.4 million, sugar and sugar confectionery expanded by 64.6 per cent to RM332.9 million and prepared cereals and flour preparations grew by 3.1 per cent to RM303.6 million.
Among the OIC countries, Indonesia was the major export destination for processed food in 2007, followed by Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, and Brunei.