Newswrap: Halal industry | Salaam Footbridge
The global food import bill will hit a new high; Malaysia clarifies halal food import requirements; PIF will invest up to $3 billion in Jordan; Saudi Arabia will spend $1 billion a year on anti-aging research; Mindanao invests in a halal food factory; Iran and Nigeria are strengthening their ties.
Global food import bill hits new high
The global food import bill is expected to reach a new record high of $1.8 trillion this year, according to the Food Outlook report from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). While the food bill is expected to be higher, due to higher prices and transportation costs, volumes will be lower.
“Worryingly, many vulnerable countries are paying more but receiving less food,” the report said.
The global food import bill is expected to rise by $51 billion from 2021, of which $49 billion reflects higher prices.
“Given soaring input prices, weather concerns and heightened market uncertainties resulting from the war in Ukraine, FAO’s latest forecasts point to a likely tightening of food markets and import bills. of food reaching a new record,” said the FAO economist. Upali Galketi Arachilage in UN News.
Animal fats and vegetable oils will be the main contributors to higher import bills this year, “although cereals are not far behind for developed countries,” he said. “Developing countries as a whole are reducing their imports of grains, oilseeds and meat, reflecting their inability to cover rising prices.”
Sub-Saharan African countries and net food-importing developing countries are expected to experience an increase in total costs. “These are alarming signs from a food security perspective,” the FAO said. The organization also warned that “importers will find it difficult to finance rising international costs”, and “that these could, potentially, break them”.
Malaysia clarifies import requirements for halal food
The Malaysian Halal Council Secretariat of the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (Jakim) clarified that despite the removal of the approved permit or import quota on certain food items announced by the government in May to ensure food supply, Halal foods are subject to requirements, reported The Star. Halal food must comply with Sections 4 and 5 of the Trade Descriptions (Halal Certification and Marking) Order 2011 or be certified by an overseas Halal certification body recognized by Jakim. “To ensure the halal status of imported foods, Jakim has recognized 84 foreign halal certification bodies from 46 countries around the world,” the secretariat said in a statement to Bernama. “They are responsible for supervising and controlling the implementation of the halal system in slaughterhouses approved to export meat to Malaysia and industries that export their products to the country.”
Separately, Malaysia’s acting high commissioner to Pakistan, Deddy Faisal Ahmad Salleh, told The Associated Press that Malaysia had set a target of RM56 billion ($12.6 billion) for Halal food exports by 2025. The country currently exports RM35.8 billion. ($8.1 billion).
Saudi Arabia to spend $1 billion a year on anti-aging research
Saudi Arabia established the Hevolution Foundation, a non-profit organization, to support basic research on the biology of aging and extend the lifespan of healthy people, the MIT Technology Review reported. The foundation is to spend up to $1 billion a year in grants for research into the causes of aging and to support drug studies and trials.
The fund is managed by Mehmood Khan, a former Mayo Clinic endocrinologist and former chief scientist at PespsiCo. “Our primary goal is to extend healthy lifespan,” Khan said in an interview, as quoted by MIT. “There is no bigger medical problem on the planet than this.”
Saudi Arabia doesn’t have a problem with an aging population, with a median age of around 31. However, there is an increase in obesity and diabetes rates.
PIF to invest up to $3 billion in Jordan
The PIF, the kingdom’s sovereign wealth fund, will invest $3 billion in Jordan through the Saudi Jordanian Fund, Bloomberg reported. The fund is to invest $400 million in a new 300-bed hospital in Amman, which will be developed in partnership with UCLA Health in California and University College London Medical School. It should create more than 5,000 jobs. The fund also plans to invest in infrastructure, healthcare and tourism projects, as well as financially supporting Jordanian companies involved in food and agriculture, energy and pharmaceuticals. The fund took a $185 million stake in Capital Bank of Jordan to enable the bank to expand into Saudi Arabia and Iraq.
Iran and Nigeria strengthen their relations
At a joint economic committee held in Tehran, Iran and Nigeria signed eight memorandums of understanding (MOUs) for cooperation, including in the fields of culture, tourism, petroleum, agriculture, sports and commerce, the Tehran Times reported.
Bilateral trade increased from $5 million in 2019 to $18 million in 2020 and over $130 million in 2021, according to data from Iran’s Ministry of Industry, Mines and Trade. The agreements are expected to further strengthen ties with Nigeria, Iran’s third largest trading partner in Africa. The lack of direct transport links has hampered bilateral relations, but a Tehran-Abuja flight is expected to start this year, while the establishment of a shipping line between the two has also been discussed.
Mindanao invests in a halal food factory
The Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) is investing 1.99 million pesos ($37,689) to build a small halal food factory, the Philippine News Agency reported. The project is to provide halal food to promote halal certified poultry and fish production areas in the south of the island of the Philippines, with the possibility of storing 500 to 600 bags of food. “We came up with this project to ensure that we can supply and maintain halal compliant products from farm to fork,” said Engineer Saidona Lawam, Senior Agronomist at the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Agrarian Reform (MAFAR).