- Title: Bosnian businesses go halal to serve Gulf visitors, eye exports
- Date: 8th December 2016
- Summary: SARAJEVO, BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA (RECENT) (REUTERS) SARAJEVO SKYLINE OLD TOWN PEOPLE AND SHOPS IN OLD TOWN PEOPLE IN STREET TOURISTS TAKING PHOTOS EXTERIOR OF MEAT FACTORY ACOVA VARIOUS OF PRODUCTION IN ACOVA FACTORY HEAD OF HALAL QUALITY CERTIFICATION AGENCY, AMIR SAKIC, SITTING SAKIC'S HANDS (SOUNDBITE) (Bosnian) HEAD OF HALAL QUALITY CERTIFICATION AGENCY, AMIR SAKIC, SAYING: "We still have a situation where 27 to 28 percent of the total population are halal consumers and only 17 to 18 percent of the global food production has the halal certificate." EXTERIOR OF 'KLAS' FACTORY VARIOUS OF PRODUCTION IN KLAS FACTORY QUALITY MANAGER AT KLAS FACTORY, VASVIJA POLJO, WORKING QUALITY OF FLOUR BEING TESTED (SOUNDBITE) (Bosnian) QUALITY MANAGER AT KLAS FACTORY, VASVIJA POLJO, SAYING: "It [halal certificate] proves that not only pork components are not present in the product, it requires that all raw materials must also be cleared of pesticides, heavy metals, GMO, antibiotics and other elements that have a negative effect on our health." VARIOUS OF PRODUCTION AT KLAS FACTORY EXTERIOR OF BOSNIA BANK INTERNATIONAL (BBI) AMIR BUKVIC, DIRECTOR OF BBI, SITTING IN HIS OFFICE CITY VIEW FROM OFFICE WINDOW (SOUNDBITE) (Bosnian) DIRECTOR OF BOSNIA BANK INTERNATIONAL, AMIR BUKVIC, SAYING: "It is one of the corridors for our growth, it is our opening to the world and the corridor to the Islamic world as well." VARIOUS OF HOTEL COMPLEXES ENTRANCE TO HOTEL FOYER SARAJEVO HOTELS OWNER, SALJO MRKULIC, SEATED AT HIS DESK (SOUNDBITE) (Bosnian) SARAJEVO HOTELS OWNER, SALJO MRKULIC, SAYING: "The number of guests has increased because of the halal certificate we have acquired and I know that other hotels applied for the halal certificate as well. Bosnia has a touristic potential and this (halal certificate) will help it develop further." VARIOUS OF RESTAURANT IN HOTEL WITH HALAL CERTIFICATE VARIOUS OF MOSQUE AND SQUARE IN OLD PART OF TOWN
- Embargoed: 23rd December 2016 13:13
- Keywords: Sarajevo halal Muslim population Gulf tourists
- Location: SARAJEVO, BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA
- City: SARAJEVO, BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA
- Country: Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Reuters ID: LVA0015C0XG6X
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Bosnian banks, food producers and hoteliers are adopting halal standards to tap a fast-growing market thanks to the country's large Muslim population, an influx of Gulf tourists and growing trade with the Arab world.
Bosnia has one of Europe's largest indigenous Muslim populations, traditionally liberal in its interpretation of Islam, but the arrival of Arab fighters during the 1992-95 war and an influx of Saudi money has spurred an Islamic revival.
The country, half of whose population is Muslim, has become a regional hub for halal products since it set up Europe's first agency for halal quality certification in 2006.
"We still have a situation where 27 to 28 percent of the total population are halal consumers and only 17 to 18 percent of the global food production has the halal certificate," said agency head Amir Sakic, adding the halal market in the Balkans had grown by about 17 percent each year over the past decade.
The agency has certified thousands of products from Bosnia, Serbia, Montenegro and Lithuania and helped Croatia, Serbia and Macedonia to establish their own halal quality agencies.
The halal market was worth more than $1 trillion in 2015, according to Deloitte Tohmatsu Consulting, and growing by about 15 percent a year.
Halal certification confirms that a product was manufactured in keeping with Islam's Sharia law. It must not contain traces of pork, alcohol or blood, and must be made on factory lines free of contamination risk, including from cleaning.
"At Klas, all products are halal," said Vasvija Poljo, quality manager at Sarajevo-based food producer Klas, explaining that people often confuse halal products with products that lack pork content.
"It requires that all raw materials must also be cleared of pesticides, heavy metals, GMO, antibiotics and other elements that have a negative effect on our health."
The Gulf-owned Bosna Bank International (BBI), Bosnia's only bank operating on Islamic principles, helps exports with its 550 million marka-strong ($300 million) portfolio of halal projects.
"It is our opening to the world and the corridor to the Islamic world as well," said Amer Bukvic, the director of the BBI, which together with the Sarajevo Stock Exchange (SASE) launched the Balkans' first Islamic share index of listed firms in October.
Gulf investors have bought large swathes of agricultural land and food-producing companies in Serbia and Bosnia to help address weaknesses in the supply chain of halal ingredients.
"The number of guests has increased because of the halal certificate we have acquired and I know that other hotels applied for the halal certificate as well," said Saljo Mrkulic, an owner of two large hotels in Sarajevo, "Bosnia has a touristic potential and this (halal certificate) will help it develop further."
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