DUBAI, 4th January, 2021 (WAM) — The global halal integrity in trade has reached a major milestone in 2020, with the members of the International Halal Accreditation Forum (IHAF), the world’s first halal international accreditation network, heading the list of top halal food exporters.
The top five nations, all members of the IHAF, exporting to Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) countries are Brazil at $16.2 billion; India at $14.4 billion; the United States at $13.8 billion; Russia at $11.9 billion, and Argentina at $10.2 billion, according to the State of the Global Islamic Economy Report 2020-2021 an annual study produced by US-based research company Dinar Standard and supported by the Dubai Islamic Economy Development Centre.
The IHAF, an independent, non-government network of accreditation bodies which aims to harmonise accreditation practices in halal, currently has 38 accreditation body-members and stakeholders from 35 countries across six continents.
Dr Rehab Al Ameri, Secretary-General of the IHAF, stated that Islamic countries are dependent on Islamic imports, hence there is a need for halal certification and accreditation in food production and logistics industry. The IHAF ensures this integrity is maintained through harmonising halal standards amongst members.
Dr. Al Ameri said, “The top food exporters to the OIC countries are non-OIC-countries. To cement the integrity of halal, and to ensure that the halal products consumers are buying are truly halal, utmost standards across different countries and regions should be enforced.”
In the year 2020, the Forum’s initiatives had focused on strengthening its membership globally, building a robust digital infrastructure and injecting essential tools and education for the halal sector while fostering stronger collaborations.
The IHAF upgraded the National Centre for Accreditation (NCA) ‐ Kazakhstan to Full Member and welcomed Cambodian Accreditation National Council (DA‐CANC) – Cambodia as its newest Affiliate Member.
It held key meetings including the 7th Board of Directors meeting that discussed achievement reports and strategies for 2020 to 2024 and the Multi-lateral Recognition Arrangement Committee (MRAC) meeting, which tackled ways on how to continue the peer-to-peer accreditation exercise in consideration of the limitations brought about by the pandemic.
The IHAF launched its new digital infrastructure with a new and improved website that comes with members’ web application and a member’s management system to ease the processes between its members and IHAF. The application, which can be accessed through www.ihaforum.ae, allows for real-time interactive communication between IHAF’s members.
The new website and web application will also include an automated voting system that will approve all submissions, helping speed up the process of new memberships as well as requests from existing members.
Amongst the issues undertaken by the IHAF to showcase its commitment to collaboration to promote harmonisation of halal standards include its participation in the Gulf Food 2020, the largest and longest-running food and beverage show in the world, held in February 2020 in Dubai.
It also hosted a webinar titled “The Future Perspectives of The Halal Industry”, which discussed ways to resolve the challenges faced by the halal trade industry today, including remote assessments.
The Forum also participated in the Global Islamic Economy Summit, the world’s largest forum dedicated to the Islamic economy held in July 2020. It also took part in the 5th Global Halal Industry Platform, as well as a global seminar on best halal norms hosted by the Polish Embassy.
Dr. Al Ameri’s persistent efforts to lead the halal sector also earned her a prestigious accolade at the “Emirates Women Award 2020” as the winner for the Strategic and Financial Planning – Professional Category.