N. Mindanao MSMEs should get halal certification – DTI

CAGAYAN DE ORO, Philippines – Micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) should secure halal certification to be able to market their food products competitively once ASEAN economic integration happens by yearend, a regional office of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said.

DTI regional director Linda Boniao said MSMEs in Northern Mindanao have a lot to earn from the integration of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations

Halal food has been prepared according to Islamic law, and is free from pork products, alcohol and certain other ingredients. 

Islamic groups are involved in halal certification, with companies paying fees for inspection and certification carried by the Islamic Da’wah Council of the Philippines.

Region 10 or Northern Mindanao has the third highest production volume for poultry in the country, and is the only one outside Luzon.

Boniao said the presence of large poultry production in Northern Mindanao means there is a big potential for exports to ASEAN members. But to realize the region’s potential, MSMEs still need to do more in terms of certification.

Mindanao plays an important role in trade among neighboring countries Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei, and Singapore.

Boniao said the large multinational companies in Northern Mindanao will not have a problem with their exports come ASEAN integration. But for her, the government should focus on making MSMEs relevant in the large ASEAN market.

For DTI Misamis Oriental director Eliza Pabillore, Northern Mindanao plays an important role in the poultry industry as it hosts some of the largest poultry companies. "There is much to be done to capitalize on the opening of the ASEAN market," she said.

Food basket

Bukidnon province has long been considered the food basket of Mindanao.

Pineapples, bananas, and other fruits from Bukidnon are exported all over the world, and the opening of the ASEAN market would mean an expansion on the production to meet market demands, Pabillore said.

Latest data from the DTI showed that MSMEs in Bukidnon generated 6,561 jobs with domestic sales of P225.52 million.

Pabillore said DTI is also focused on key MSME industry clusters such as coffee, cacao, coco noir, processed fruits and nuts, and rubber for exports.

Boniao said that DTI Region 10 wants to position itself at the forefront, facilitating enterprise and industries-building that will meet the growing export market demands, with Northern Mindanao as a key player in the economic sector. – Rappler.com