Pakistan’s share is only around $28 million or just 0.5 percent of the total global halal food trade. A quarter of the world population is Muslim and Pakistan ranks 18th in the index of the halal meat production with a capacity to produce 650,402 tons chicken meat, 73,000 tons buffalo meat, 70,600 tons cattle meat, 270,000 tons goat meat and 154,000 tons sheep meat per year. According to an official of the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry, more than 80 percent of the world halal trade is dominated by non-Muslim countries. The National Assembly has recently passed a bill to set up the Pakistan Halal Authority to ensure supply of halal food to the people. Pakistanis use 100 percent halal food items and the country has the potential to enter the global halal food industry but its share in the $2.3 trillion halal food market is negligible. The authority will be tasked to set halal food standards to fully utilize the country’s potentials.
The awareness of halal products had increased among Muslim nations with advent of Internet, mobile phone and other technological advances. Halal products are a symbol of healthy, wholesome and hygienic food and has growing popularity even in the non-Muslim individuals. According to a report of the Global Islamic Economy, the worldwide spending on halal food and lifestyle products can rise 10.8 percent per year until 2019 and will increase the international halal food trade to $3.7 trillion. Despite the low per capita income, Pakistan with a population of around 180 million is itself one of the largest market of halal food and products from non-Muslim countries, such as Australia and China are easily available in its super stores. At present, Canada, Indonesia, India, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, New Zealand and US are the leading halal food suppliers in the world while Australia, Brazil and France are the biggest halal chicken exporters in the Middle East.
The problem with the Pakistani policymakers is that they forget the local food requirements in their quest to enhance exports. Pakistanis also deserve halal food at competitive rates and they should not be denied of this right. However, specific cattle farms and food processing zones can be established only for export purpose. Pakistan is an agriculture country with 74 million cattle and 95 million sheep but what need to do is to streamline the meat and dairy sectors. Pakistan can be one of the biggest halal food suppliers in the world if modern techniques are used in dairy sector.