(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) The growing role of the UAE as a hub of Islamic economy and the great impact it will have on global halal trade have resulted in a halal event in Sharjah seeing an impressive rise in industry participation from across the globe.
The second OIC Halal Middle East Exhibition and Congress held along with the first Kitchen Equipment and Technology Exhibition Middle East attracted 25 per cent more participation, with both exhibitor and visitor numbers increasing by 25 per cent.
Held under the patronage of His Highness Dr Shaikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Member of Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, at Expo Centre Sharjah from December 16 to 18, the event hosted 125 exhibitors, as against last year's 100, and registered a footfall of 2,686, compared to 2,162 in 2012.
"Ever since the UAE has started playing a pro-active role in the halal trade and standardisation initiatives, the global attention is on us. A slew of key initiatives and events were announced and organised recently that aims to make the country the Islamic economic hub. And, I am happy to note that we succeeded in attracting the trade community, Shariah scholars, government authorities and various industry bodies from across the world to Sharjah," said Saif Mohammed Al Midfa, chief executive, Expo Centre Sharjah.
"The rise in exhibitor and visitor numbers is a proof that the event has succeeded in making a great impact in the international halal community," Al Midfa said.
Halal bodies from various countries accorded great significance to the event, since it provided a platform to boost bilateral trade. "Halal Middle East enabled us to engage in unique business deals and networking, where Malaysian companies could meet their UAE counterparts to facilitate the import and distribution of their products in Malaysia and vice-a-versa," said Nurul Asyiha Binti Husin, executive member affair, Malaysian Franchise Association.
The special pavilions at the show included those by the Ministry of Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism, Malaysia; State Government of Penang; Korea Halal Association; Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia and the Indonesian Trade Promotion Centre; Japan Halal Association; Sudan Halal Development Authority; and Sanha - South African National Halal Association - among others.
Most participants, including local manufacturers and dealers, made optimum use of the platform to gain better penetration in the overall GCC food market that stood at 83 billion in 2012.
"The show is important for us because it offers important information on growing trends and investment opportunities in the halal sector, and allows us to cater more effectively to our top three markets in the region - Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain," said Khaleel Ur Rahman Thayal, assistant brand manager, Supreme Foods Group.