(30 Sep 2018) LEADIN:
One hundred international exhibitors have attended the Sarajevo Halal Fair.
Bosnia is trying to position itself as the gateway into Europe for halal producers.
A snip of the scissors and the Sarajevo Halal Fair (SHF) is open for business.
This three-day event brings together 100 exhibitors from 36 countries to promote their products.
Bosnia wants to increase its influence in the global halal industry chain – and this exhibition is part of that plan.
The country’s Chairman of the Council of Ministers, Denis Zvizdic, is in the audience to show his support.
Trade representatives and government officials from across the word are taking part – including a video link address from Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad.
The fair has been organised by Bosnia Bank International in cooperation with the Islamic Development Bank and the Islamic Community in Bosnia.
The bank’s CEO Amer Bukvic says halal is “one of the fastest growing industries in the world”. He says Bosnia could become the “gateway” for halal producers into European markets.
Around 50 Malaysian manufacturers and distributors are attending the fair.
The head of their delegation is Malaysian politician Mujahid Yusuf Rawa.
He says the SHF will connect players in the halal industry.
And he has big ambitions for his country’s halal producers.
“We, in Malaysia, have potential to bring what our market is in Malaysia, in Indonesia, in Thailand and also in Brunei to tap in the market in the European community,” he says.
“Also, because of our relationship with China, which is the biggest market, (we) can also, I think, enhance the halal growth and we can spur that in the European region through Sarajevo as the hub and the gate for halal industry.”
As a European country with a significant Muslim population, Bosnia has a good understanding of Islamic culture.
But as well as being a potential conduit to the European market for Asian halal producers, there are home grown companies with an eye on business opportunities.
Zdravko Markov, sales manager of the Livno Dairy Factory, is offering cheese samples to visitors.
He is looking outside of Europe to expand.
“We are entering new markets in the Middle East and Turkey and halal (certificate) is very important to us,” he says.
The event in Sarajevo also includes panel discussions on a wide range of topics, including halal standardisation and certification, consumer health and Islamic finance.
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