Monday 25 September 2023 - 10:55:06 am

Halal integrity achieved in 2020 despite ‘on-site’ assessment challenges: IHAF

DUBAI, 1st March, 2021 (WAM) -- The International Halal Accreditation Forum (IHAF) has announced that halal integrity among its member countries was achieved in 2020 despite the ‘on-site’ assessment challenges faced by accreditation bodies due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dr. Rehab Al Ameri, Secretary-General of IHAF, made this statement in her keynote address at the Global Trade Review (GTR) Middle East and North Africa (MENA) 2021 Virtual.

"This was made possible by adopting digitalisation, which enabled IHAF’s members to continue halal trade amid supply chain disruption," Dr. Al Ameri said.

"The IHAF’s members have set an example on how to resolve the challenges by overhauling traditional business models towards digitalisation to ensure that the products adhere to safety, quality and halal standards," she said. The world's first halal international accreditation network currently has 38 accreditation body-members from 35 countries across six continents.

In response to the reduction of staffing levels, social distancing measures and the disruption of supply chains, accreditation bodies have shifted from on-site to remote assessments and audits of halal products and systems.

"The swift adaptation to digitalisation has allowed our members to continue halal trade despite the challenges faced by the industry. The top five nations exporting to the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) countries are IHAF members, reflecting our members’ commitment to guaranteeing halal integrity in the global marketplace despite the adverse impact of the pandemic," she said.

The top five nations exporting to the OIC countries are Brazil at U$16.2 billion; India at $14.4 billion; USA 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 Dubai Islamic Economy Development Centre. These countries are all members of the IHAF.

Dr. Al Ameri added that the halal industry’s vital role in global economic progress has been further amplified at the onset of the crisis, especially as consumers become keener to pursue sustainable alternatives to safeguard their health.

"Many consumers have turned to halal products as the pandemic has led the world to have a renewed focus on improving health and immunity," she added.

"This COVID-19 situation allowed us to be more inclined to use technology, especially in the new normal that casts several restrictions on halal trade. We have been adopting up-to-date innovative solutions to support our member states and thereby facilitate ease of trade in the sector," the secretary-general added.

Early this year, the IHAF unveiled its new digital infrastructure which consists of a digital-friendly website, an automated members’ management system and members’ web application.