Kota Kinabalu: The 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo is offering vast business opportunities to supply Halal food in which Malaysian entrepreneurs, including in Sabah, are encouraged to take advantage of.
Majlis Amanah Rakyat (Mara) Chairman Dato’ Dr Awang Adek Hussin said there is a big demand for Halal products as Japanese companies want to have enough supply of Halal food to cater for Muslim athletes as well as contingents from Muslim countries and also the spectators.
Therefore, he said they (Japan companies) are interested in getting sufficient Halal products, including from Malaysia.
“Mara and the Organisation for Industrial, Spiritual and Cultural Advancement (Oisca) organised the 6th Mara-Oisca International Business Forum 2017 here as we want our entrepreneurs to grab such opportunities during the 2020 Olympic Games in Japan.
“The demand overseas for Halal products is limitless and unlimited. That is why this forum is very important because we are targeting the Halal market in Japan and they are very keen to look for companies in Malaysia to supply them with Halal products.
“For that reason also, we are focusing on the Halal food industry more than in the past in this forum so that our entrepreneurs and exporters can grab this global business opportunity,” he said.
Dr Awang Adek said this during a press conference after officiating the annual 6th Mara-Oisca International Business Forum 2017 themed ‘Enhancing Entrepreneurial Networking’ here, Tuesday.
It focuses on agro-tourism, the food and beverage industry, crafts and services, including Halal products, and this selection of industrial sectors is also based on the strength of Sabah’s economic activities, as well as the needs of overseas entrepreneurs, especially from Japan.
About 1,500 participants took part in the two-day event which comprises 66 from Japan, two from Azerbaijan, two from Brunei and the rest are exhibitors consisting 13 from Sabah, 14 from the peninsula and Sarawak as well as State and Federal government agencies.
Dr Awang Adek said the 2020 Olympic Games is in line with Malaysia’s aim to become a truly global halal hub by the year 2020.
The forum, he said provides a platform for entrepreneurs in Halal food and beverages to be among the major providers for athletes in the 2020 Olympic Games.
“Local entrepreneurs should take advantage of the presence of the Japanese counterpart in this forum to learn as much as possible their requirements and opportunities in the Olympic Games.
“I hope to see many business deals materialise in addition to business matching and networking that will take place here,” he said.
According to Ministry of International Trade Industry (Miti), he said export of Halal products amounted to RM42 billion last year and growing.
He said it was very small compared with the global Halal market of USD2.3 trillion. Dr Awang Adek said it has been estimated that a total of 1,257 SMEs are involved in the exports of Halal products and services in Malaysia.
“While the demand for Halal products in the world seems unlimited for Malaysian exporters, our companies must do their part by ensuring their products are ready for the international markets, including upgrading their products as well.
“The products must have proper packaging and nutrients information as well as the barcodes and other things that are required as they are going globally and must meet the international standards.
“At the same time, we also need to ensure there is enough supply of the products as these involve international buyers that buy in bulk,” Dr Awang Adek said.
As for Mara, he said efforts are on-going to produce world-class entrepreneurs through the setting up of a Global Quality Standard based on international standard for local products.
Dr Awang Adek said the knowledge and contacts obtained in the forum will be extremely useful for them to grow their business and meet the demands and requirements of overseas markets.
At the same time, he said Mara is actively involved in the Halal industry development programme through the establishment of Mara Halal Park in various states in the country so as to be a catalyst for the Malaysian entrepreneurs.
On the signing of several Memorandum of Understanding (MoUs) between local and Japanese companies, he said the total investment is about RM520 million and the industries involved in the collaboration is halal food, beverage and cement factory, including education programmes with Oisca students.
Also present were Japanese Ambassador to Malaysia, Dr Mario Miyagawa, Azerbaijan Ambassador Qaley Allah Verdiyevs, Mara Director-General Dato’ Azhar Abdul Manaf, Oisca International Executive Vice-President Toshihiro Nakanao, vice-president Dato’ Sri Ibrahim Ahmad, secretary-general Yasuaki Nagaishi and other senior officials. – Hayati Dzulkifli