- Title: Bosnia hosts international halal food fair, eyes future markets
- Date: 27th September 2019
- Summary: SARAJEVO, BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA (SEPTEMBER 26, 2019) (REUTERS) BOOTHS AT INTERNATIONAL HALAL FAIR IN SARAJEVO VARIOUS PEOPLE PASSING BY BOOTHS WITH HALAL FOOD PRODUCTS AND PRODUCE ON DISPLAY HAND ARRANGING FOOD PRODUCTS ON PLATE BOTTLES OF FRUIT JUICE ON DISPLAY ON SHELF PEOPLE PASSING BY STALL WITH BASKET OF BREAD VARIOUS OF ORGANICALLY-GROWN EDIBLE SEEDS ON DISPLAY DETAIL OF HAND SERVING SLICE OF PIE AT FAIR BOOTH (SOUNDBITE) (Bosnian) FOOD QUALITY EXPERT, HAMID KURJAKOVIC, SAYING: "Over the last 10 years or so, we have seen an increase in guests from the Middle East visiting Bosnia-Herzegovina. So many restaurants are now including a halal food menu. And there are even plans to start halal training programmes for staff." VARIOUS OF PEOPLE WALKING IN SARAJEVO CITY CENTRE VARIOUS OF PEOPLE EATING IN STREET RESTAURANT CAKE ON DISPLAY INSIDE CAKE SHOP RESTAURANT MANAGER FARUK ISOVIC SITTING AT TABLE TALKING (SOUNDBITE) (Bosnian) RESTAURANT MANAGER, FARUK ISOVIC, SAYING: "It does pay (to invest in halal items), we keep trying to improve our offer, to bring it to a new level, to make it better and increase the quality, so we expect that care to pay off in the future." EXTERIOR OF HOTEL SEEN THROUGH ARCH OF HISTORIC BUILDING PIGEONS IN SQUARE NEXT TO OTTOMAN-STYLE FOUNTAIN CONFERENCE ROOM AT FAIR, AUDIENCE WATCHING SPEAKER ON STAGE DELEGATES IN AUDIENCE (SOUNDBITE) (English) PRIME MINISTER OF MALAYSIA, MAHATHIR BIN MOHAMAD, SAYING (SPEAKING VIA VIDEO CALL ON SCREEN): "In most European countries, there is an increasing interest in organic and natural food products; a huge market segment for halal food producers to venture. With these favourable trends, the Sarajevo Halal Fair can become a platform for big investments in Bosnia and Herzegovina and other Western Balkan countries." DELEGATES IN AUDIENCE SPEAKER STANDING AT PODIUM (SOUNDBITE) (English) CEO OF BOSNIA BANK INTERNATIONAL, AMER BUKVIC, SAYING: "We envision Bosnia and Herzegovina as a platform for supplying European markets with halal products. And if we manage to build that platform, that would be an enormous success for Bosnian economy, and for our neighbouring countries as well." CEO OF BOSNIAN FOOD COMPANY AS GROUP, RUSMIR HRVIC, AND CEO OF MALAYSIAN COMPANY PERAK HALAL CORPORATION, ABD AZIZ BIN RAHIM, SIGNING INVESTMENT AGREEMENT AND SHAKING HANDS
- Embargoed: 11th October 2019 15:13
- Keywords: Halal food Bosnia and Herzegovina Sarajevo international food fair
- Location: SARAJEVO, BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA
- City: SARAJEVO, BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA
- Country: Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Topics: Economic Events
- Reuters ID: LVA001AYFOT2X
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: A three-day industry fair dedicated to halal food opened in Bosnia's capital Sarajevo on Thursday (September 26) as the country hopes to capitalise on the fast-growing market for halal products.
Halal food is prepared in line with Islamic Sharia law, meaning it must not contain any traces of pork, alcohol, or blood and any unhealthy additives at any point during its production, the latter attracting even non-Muslim consumers.
The annual fair is part of Bosnia's attempt to position itself as a major European exporter of halal food, as well as a destination for visitors from Gulf countries.
Around half of Bosnia's 3.5 million people traditionally adhere to Islam, although historically the form of Islam practiced in the country did not observe halal food rules very strictly.
This started to change in the 1990s - first with the arrival of Arab fighters during the country's devastating 1992-95 war, and later with an influx of postwar investments from Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and other predominantly Muslim countries.
Food quality expert Hamid Kurjakovic said in the past decade many more restaurants in Sarajevo had begun to offer halal dishes on their menus in response to growing numbers of tourists.
Sarajevo restaurant owner Faruk Isovic said his business had already seen a pay-off from investing in halal options and expected to continue to do so in future.
Industry estimates put the annual value of the global halal food market at several trillion dollars, with the amount expected to grow further in the coming years.
Back at the fair, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir bin Mohamad addressed delegates via a video message, and Malaysian food companies signed investment deals with local producers.
They included an initial 20 million euro ($22 million approx.) deal with a chicken and egg farm based in the country's north-west, and a $5 million deal for a Bosnian food and beverage company to supply a Malaysian fast-food chain.
As well as food and farming businesses, the fair also featured companies offering halal options in the sectors of finance, pharmaceuticals, creative industries and travel and tourism.
(Production: Zeljko Debelnogic, David Spaic, Dominik Starosz, Lewis Macdonald)
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