Halaal food park on cards for South Africa

28 July 2015

A R1-billion halaal agri-processing food park has been proposed for Western Cape, as part of the province’s Project Khulisa growth strategy.

Alan Winde, the provincial minister of economic opportunities, said the Western Cape government, in partnership with the Western Cape Fine Food Initiative and the private sector, was working to develop the park.

“The global halaal market is worth $2.3-trillion [nearly R29-trillion]. The proposed halaal park will allow Western Cape to double our share of that fast-growing market. We will focus on the Middle East and North Africa, where around 20% of the world’s Muslim population resides. We seek to increase the value of halaal exports by $31-billion by 2020. The proposed park is expected to add a further 5 000 new jobs to our economy in the next five years,” he said.

Project Khulisa had identified agri-processing as a key growth sector with the potential to add up to 100 000 jobs and generate R26-billion for the economy under a high-growth scenario. The halaal park would play an important role in reaching these targets, Winde added.

Pre-feasibility studies suggested it could generate up to R5-billion for the local economy each year.

The park, if approved, could be launched in the next two years.

Sites under consideration

“There are two sites under consideration for the halaal park, namely the Cape Town International Airport and a site in the Cape Winelands. The park will be a fully halaal zone and will be a cluster of manufacturing and service firms in the halaal industry. It will present significant opportunities for private sector investment. We also hope to encourage the establishment of a single, globally recognised halaal certifying body to be based at park.”

Earlier this year, Winde led a delegation to Malaysia, which strengthened trade links between that country and Western Cape. The Western Cape Fine Food Initiative and the Malaysian Industry Government Group for High Technology have signed a co- operation agreement to foster partnerships between the halaal industries of the two countries.

“This agreement will see the Western Cape producers learning from Malaysia’s international best practice.”

Nazeem Sterras, the chief executive officer of the Western Cape Fine Food Initiative, said internationally there was a huge focus on the halaal industry and halaal industrial parks were a key strategic catalyst for economic growth and access to markets.

“It is not just because of the religious or Sharia compliancy but because people are starting to realise that halaal certified products already provide all the set standards that every human being needs to consider when they consume or use products.”

Halaal requirements

These key requirements, Sterras explained, included whether a product was healthy, nutritious, clean, safe and caused no harm to the environment.

“Halaal certification actually provides all these standards already, as part of what we call a lifestyle value proposition. It ticks all the boxes that people want in a good quality product.”

He said in terms of business, they had completed a pre-feasibility study and had looked at the products Western Cape could provide compared to what products were required worldwide, but especially in the Middle East, North Africa and even sub- Saharan Africa. “We’ve focused particularly on these regions because of their close proximity and the recent trade agreements signed with Africa.”

The latest figures obtained, Sterras said, put the Middle East, North Africa and sub- Saharan Africa markets together, at about $155-billion covering four big areas including food and beverages; tourism; pharmaceuticals and cosmetics as well as food ingredients and industrial chemicals to a smaller extent.

In August, Winde will submit the Project Khulisa growth proposals to the Cabinet for approval.

Source: South African government online