Small and medium enterprise (SME) industry players in the country have been urged to take advantage of the huge demand for halal food and products from consumers around the world.

Deputy International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir said the global halal industry offers huge business opportunities and is expected to increase by 20 per cent this year.

He said the global market value for trade in halal food and products was estimated at US$2.1 trillion (RM7 trillion) a year.

The halal food sector alone was estimated at US$693 billion (RM2.3 trillion) a year, while non-food products such as healthcare items, cosmetics, and hotel, catering and other services would account for the rest.

“We see a trend of incremental demand for halal products from Muslim consumers as well as non-Muslim countries. SME business operators, especially those in the halal industry, should seize this opportunity by improving the quality of their products to meet the standard required to break into the international market.

“There is always a big market for halal products. Apart from going into food production, we should also try to tap the niche product segment,” Mukhriz told reporters after attending the opening of a halal industry carnival in Alor Star last Friday.

Mukhriz said the local halal industry was expected to contribute 5.8 per cent of gross domestic product by 2020 compared with less than 2 per cent at present.

He said that unlike other countries, Malaysia provides a holistic and comprehensive approach to the industry.

“We have a halal ecosystem that focuses on manufacturing and support services such as certification, logistics, Islamic banking, standard development, and research and development. The establishment of such an ecosystem would ensure that the production process, including packaging and logistics, is syariah-compliant.”

Business Times