05/06/2024 09:33 PM

KUALA LUMPUR, June 5 (Bernama) -- The Uruguayan government, represented by The Institute of National Meat of Uruguay (INAC), has expressed a keen interest in furthering its collaboration with Malaysia in the halal meat and dairy market.

The focus will be on expanding efforts to export beef to other nations, particularly aiming to penetrate the Southeast Asian market, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said.

Ahmad Zahid said this was conveyed during his meeting with Uruguay's Minister for Livestock, Agriculture, and Fisheries, Fernando Mattos, today to discuss advancing trade relations between Malaysia and Uruguay in the global halal meat market.

“The livestock sector in Uruguay produces approximately 600,000 tonnes of beef per year, of which 150,000 tonnes are used in the domestic market, and 450,000 tonnes are exported.

“Additionally, Uruguay exports 75 per cent of its beef abroad, mostly to China, while only 25 per cent is produced for domestic use. These products are exported to over 100 countries, contributing 25 per cent of Uruguay's exports.

“Therefore, I see great potential for Malaysia to explore this Uruguayan meat and dairy market to ensure a stable supply of halal meat and further drive the country's food security agenda,” he said in a statement today.

Ahmad Zahid added that Malaysia could also become a major hub for processing, storage, handling, and transportation activities, with a focus on Malaysia before penetrating the halal meat market abroad, especially in the ASEAN region.

He said that the Malaysian government, through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security (KPKM), Ministry of Investment, Trade and Industry (MITI), Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (JAKIM), and Halal Development Corporation (HDC), has outlined several approaches to achieve this. 

“The Department of Veterinary Services and JAKIM themselves have conducted visits and halal audits to 21 ruminant abattoirs in Uruguay since last April and are in the final phase before these slaughterhouses are officially granted halal status.

“Furthermore, the Uruguayan government has provided assurance through legislation that compliance with Malaysian halal standards will be adhered to by The Uruguay Islamic Centre (UIC), which is the halal certification body in that country,” he said.

Ahmad Zahid said these steps were believed to open up a broader market for Uruguay in Malaysia, where he believed opportunities for cooperation with major global meat suppliers like Uruguay would diversify the halal meat sources in the country and avoid dependence on any one country.

In addition, he said Malaysia would consider sending Malaysian trainees from JAKIM and HDC to become Halal Process Assurance Supervisors and slaughter experts to recognised abattoirs abroad endorsed by JAKIM.

“This step can enhance confidence in HALAL MALAYSIA certified slaughter products without any religious concerns,” he said.




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