1249 GMT July 18, 2019
Increasing the share of exporting halal foods in the country’s foreign trade can accelerate the country’s economic development and growth, said a representative of the Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei.
Global halal food trade stands at $4 trillion, added Ayatollah Khamenei’s representative in the Agricultural Jihad Ministry, Hojjatoleslam Reza Taqavi, in an exclusive interview with Iran Daily.
Commenting on the massive profit generated through halal food trade and the high potential of the overseas sales of such products for bringing in foreign currency revenues, he said Muslim states surrounding Iran provide the country with access to a 370-million-strong market.
“In addition, a large number of non-Muslim countries are also interested in importing halal food.”
He said non-Muslim countries have also realized that the meat of animals and cattle slaughtered through the Islamic method, known as dhabihah, and foodstuff produced using Islamic techniques are very sanitary and have high nutritional value.
“Given the increasing popularity of halal foodstuffs in the world, a large number of non-Muslim countries are seeking to obtain the required permits enabling them to brand their products as halal.”
Healthy nutrition and improved health quality are among the indicators of growth in a society, he said, adding consuming halal foods has positive impacts on the level of individuals’ physical and psychological health.
“Today, the need for halal foodstuffs has turned into a global demand, and is no longer only limited to Muslim countries.”
Taqavi added that halal foodstuffs have gained popularity among non-Muslims as well.
“The role played by traders and producers of such products in the increased popularity of halal foodstuffs should not be overlooked, however. They have prepared the ground for halal foodstuffs to win global approval by improving the quality of their products and through effective marketing.”
Blaming a lack of concentration in making decisions and enforcing regulations as the main factors slowing development of halal foodstuff production and trade in Iran, he said at present, issues related to this field are being tackled by different organizations, which has negatively impacted the trend of halal food trade in the country.
He listed these organizations as the Institute of Standards & Industrial Research of Iran; Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture; the Ministry of Health and Medical Education; and the Agricultural Jihad Ministry.
Taqavi said to resolve such problems, a council, comprising a number of Iranian ministers, has been set up in the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Mine to make decisions on issues pertaining to the halal food industry and help improve production and trade of such products in the country.
Putting Iran’s share of global foodstuff trade at merely one percent, he noted that this is true while given the country’s capacities and potentials in this field, it can have a more significant share of the international market of such products.
Increasing the production and trade of halal foodstuffs can help boost the country’s production, employment and trade, Taqavi assured.
Shifting to the relationship between the Ministry of Agricultural Jihad and Iranians’ livelihood, he said many staples such as cereals, meat, fruits, vegetables and a large number of pharmaceuticals are produced under the supervision of this ministry.
Stressing the importance of adopting a more scientific approach toward dealing with issues relating to the domestic agricultural sector, Taqavi noted that, to this end, the Agriculture Ministry has placed the development of greenhouse cultivation and farming on its agenda; given that Iran is a dry country with low precipitation, employing this kind of agricultural method will help reduce water consumption.
He put the area under greenhouse cultivation in Iran at 15,000 hectares, describing the figure as insufficient as it is required to reach between 300,000 to 400,000 hectares.
“A shift from traditional cultivation and farming methods to industrial ones will help significantly raise the country’s production of certain agricultural products.”
He said in the early years after the victory of Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution, the country’s agricultural and horticultural output stood at 15 million tons, while the figure currently exceeds 120 million tons.
“Likewise, Iran’s wheat production was 4.5 million tons in the initial years after the Islamic Revolution, while this figure has now reached 14 million tons.”
The country’s fruit production has witnessed a tenfold growth over the past 40 years and its fisheries output has reached one million tons, from 32,000 tons, during the past four decades, he said.