Photo: Muazzam Naik of ATOBA and Intan Suriya of Serunai Commerce after the signing of the MoU for the Halal Centre of Excellence on Jan 18, 2020 in Hyderabad, India. Syed Ameen Kader/SALAAM GATEWAY

Halal Industry

JAKIM-backed Serunai to set up halal training centre in India


India is set to get its first internationally recognised ‘Halal Centre of Excellence’ that will train individuals and companies towards halal certification.

Mumbai-based ATOBA Business Network will establish the halal centre in Hyderabad and halal-focused Malaysian tech firm Serunai Commerce will provide its training and curriculum.

The centre will provide services including professional halal industry training, certified halal plant management and skills development, human capital development, and capacity building for different levels of management and stakeholders.

“India is an exciting place, particularly Hyderabad where we see a lot of companies are interested in getting their products halal-certified,” Intan Suriya, Head of International Partnership & Global Events at Serunai Commerce told Salaam Gateway.

She said the centre is expected to be operational by the end of the first quarter, with the first batch set to begin training from April onwards.

“We have noticed many companies in India want to obtain the JAKIM logo as they want to be recognised worldwide,” said Intan, whose company is a strategic partner with JAKIM for its Verify Halal app, Global Halal Data Pool, and blockchain-powered Halal Digital Chain.

India currently has a handful of credible halal certification agencies catering to the country’s growing need, but only three such bodies are recognised by JAKIM.

An increasing number of companies going for halal certification—both for domestic as well as an export market—is driving demand for trained halal professionals and manpower in India.

Halal Centre of Excellence looks to fill that gap. “In terms of coaching, we hope to train around 50 companies over the next year in India,” said Intan.

“When we say Halal Centre of Excellence, we mean it will be a complete business centre for the information, training, business networking, certification and government liaising,” Muazzam Naik, CEO and Director at ATOBA, told Salaam Gateway.

He said as of now Indians are going to Malaysia for training, but, with the centre coming into existence next month, they will be able to obtain training and assistance for halal certification in India itself.

“We are creating awareness among students in educational institutes and telling them that they can opt halal as their career option,” said Muazzam.

“Initially, we will conduct some seminars and workshops in different cities following which we will plan how many students we are going to train,” he said, adding that they are partnering with different educational institutions and colleges for use of their premises.

As part of the agreement, ATOBA will also help Serunai in data collection and promotion of their other two products – Global Halal Data Pool and the Verify Halal App.

Muazzam points out that as of now there has been no organised way of creating awareness or doing halal activities in India. “There is no proper halal forum. People are doing everything on their own.

“We have taken this initiative to invite all the stakeholders of the halal industry in one platform,” he said.

In terms of growth avenues, Intan observed that India’s herbal products and cosmetics industry have a huge potential. “Most of these products are not halal-certified. Given that India has such a huge Muslim population which is looking at halal very seriously, there is quite a lot of interest in these two categories,” she said.

Progress towards more halal-certified products and foodservice businesses will also boost the industry in terms of its integrity.

“[T]here are a lot of issues concerning fake halal and also non-regulated certification bodies. We look to address these issues through setting up halal centres or having partnerships in different parts of the world,” said Intan.

This would be the second such centre outside of Malaysia for tech firm Serunai, following a similar agreement in October it signed with Islamic finance and business advisory firm iConsult Africa to set up a Halal Centre of Excellence in Cape Town, South Africa.

(Reporting by Syed Ameen Kader; Editing by Emmy Abdul Alim emmy.abdulalim@salaamgateway.com)

*A correction was made in Para 9: It is 50 companies, and not 50 people, that are hoped to be trained, as clarified by Serunai Commerce.

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Syed Ameen Kader