The United Arab Emirates has lifted a ban on chicken imports from the Philippines, enabling local producers of halal food to again tap the multibillion-dollar global Islamic market.
Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala said in an interview the UAE lifted the ban last June 18 and is sending a team of experts to directly check local facilities.
The UAE previously imposed a general ban on food shipments from Asia following reports of incidents related to the avian flu.
Alcala was recently in the Middle Eastern country as a side trip after the annual Food and Agriculture Organization conference held in Rome, Italy.
He explained that while there are local agencies that are engaged in halal certification, the UAE team would be coming over as part of a country-specific accreditation process.
A copy of a document issued by the UAE Ministry of Environment and Water, which was shown to reporters, states that the Emirates are now accepting “all kind of live birds, meats, products, hatching eggs, [and day-old chicks] from the Republic of Philippines.”
“Based on the submitted application from the Filipino authorities, [we are] lift(ing) the ban on importing chicken and its products from the Philippines, in light of the ministry’s interest in achieving its strategic goals in achieving … food security, and based on the requirements of public interest,” the UAE resolution said.
Alcala said one supplier that the UAE team would check on is San Miguel Corp., which is locally a producer of halal-certified food products.
“When I was in the UAE, I also had the opportunity to talk to buyers,” he said. “They told me of their need for eggs and even vegetables.”
UAE sources a portion of its food imports from The Netherlands, which is nearer than the Philippines.