Halal Industry

Policy recommendations on how OIC countries can strengthen their food systems, address a trillion dollar Halal opportunity and drive economic growth – New Report by DinarStandard and COMCEC

Ankara, Turkey, October 23rd, 2019 – DinarStandard, a strategic and investment advisory firm focused on OIC (“Organization of Islamic Cooperation”) markets, developed the Study, titled “Increasing the resilience of Food Systems in Islamic Countries in the face of future crises”, which launched at the 14th Meeting of the COMCEC Agriculture Working Group, attended by representatives of Ministries of Trade and Ministries of Agriculture from OIC Member States.

The purpose of the Study was to establish the critical link between strong food systems and economic growth, identify global best practices in building resilience food systems, benchmark and segment OIC member countries in the strength of their food systems and provide policy recommendations for the OIC Member States. An industry survey, in-depth interviews, and five country case studies, including three field visits, constituted the primary research tools used.

The Study highlighted the tremendous opportunity for the 57 OIC Member states that collectively represent 24% of the global population and 15% of global GDP on PPP terms with substantial natural advantages that can drive economic prosperity.

With 98 Million people across the OIC had faced food crises between 2017-18, and in context of climate change and rapidly increasing populations, the Study also highlighted the substantial limitations in building robust food systems for the OIC, highlighting only the GCC countries and Malaysia among the top 45 most food-secure countries in the world, with substantial shortcomings in technology adoption and research. The Study in particular highlighted the insufficient level of trade between OIC member states, with intra-OIC trade in food accounting for $34 billion, less than 20% of the $117.2 billion of food and beverage products imported by the OIC in 2018, inhibited by high barriers to trade, with notable gaps in cooperation and support at the OIC-level.

Important analytical frameworks and five case studies were featured that enable policymakers and businesses to formulate strategies to generate substantial economic value through building stronger food systems. The five case studies comprised the U.S. and Ireland to inform best practices, as well as Niger, Oman and Indonesia, to highlight best practices and varying experiences across the distinct regions of the OIC. The Report also segmented the OIC countries into four distinct groups, distinguishing leading exporters, notably Indonesia, Turkey and Guyana, from OIC countries that were currently lagging producers, with high export potential, including Nigeria, Kazakhstan and Egypt.

The Study developed five core policy recommendations, discussed extensively during the meeting:

  • Gathering detailed information, at a countrylevel, of where the gaps exist in the food system relative to global benchmarks, with ongoing monitoring of key KPIs
  • Development of national commitments by lagging to enhance food system stability made within the framework provided by COMCEC and supplemented by detailed national strategies to accomplish commitments made within a reasonable timeframe, including an implementation roadmap for national commitments made, with a robust commitment to longterm talent development in food and agriculture
  • Dedication of more funds to supporting food system stability, building on Islamic Development Bank and COMCEC’s existing funding, increasing funds allocated to at least $1 billion a year, with commitments from Sovereign Wealth Funds, International Partners, and Islamic Philanthropy Institutions with a clear segmentation of how those funds will be used
  • Establishing a robust project management function that supports investments and implementation of food system enhancement projects across the OIC. The Islamic Organization for Food Security could play an important role in funding and driving research and development activity in the food sector across the OIC, mirroring the USDA’s important role in the U.S. The IOFS could manage any commercially viable projects based on recommendations and imperatives from SESRIC and COMCEC. 
  • Trade liberalization among member countries, whereby the OIC has the opportunity to review its commitment to lifting trade barriers, with specific efforts to create trade corridors across multiple OIC countries, matching agricultural producers with trade, manufacturing and marketing hubs

Discussing the launch of the report, Selcuk KOC, COMCEC Director stated, “Considering that the OIC is home to a substantial proportion of the world’s food-insecure population (with an average of 98 million severely food-insecure people in 2015-2017), Strengthening Food Systems are a critical priority for OIC member countries. The Study was an important basis for Members of the Agricultural Working Group to discuss their strategic objectives and concerns as well as possible cooperation opportunities.”

Discussing the Study’s key findings and potential outcomes, Haroon Latif, Strategy Director at DinarStandard stated, “Establishing strengthened food systems is a multi-faceted, long-term process for many OIC countries. It is clear that food systems and economic performance are intricately linked and every OIC Member State needs to develop a Strategic Roadmap for their food systems if not done already. It was a pleasure to present our findings at the 14th Agriculture Working Group in Ankara, and collectively, we are excited at the linkages OIC countries can create with each other through establishing trade corridors and creating Halal supply chains, and there is a substantial role to be played by Sovereign Wealth Funds in particular, with leading OIC funds holding $3.2 trillion in assets, in coordinating government efforts and accelerating the pace of developments.”

The report can be downloaded in full from COMCEC’s website.

About DinarStandard

DinarStandard™ is a growth strategy and investment advisory firm empowering organizations for profitable and responsible global impact. Our focused markets are: OIC economies, Halal/Ethical food and lifestyle sectors, sustainable tourism, Islamic finance, impact investment, and NGO’s/Non-Profits.


The Standing Committee for Economic and Commercial Cooperation of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (COMCEC) is the main multilateral economic and commercial cooperation platform of the Islamic world. COMCEC serves as a central Forum to address the common development problems of the Islamic Ummah and provide solutions for them. The COMCEC Agriculture Working Group (AWG) serves as a regular platform for producing and disseminating knowledge, sharing experiences and good practices, creating a common understanding and approximation of policies among the OIC Member Countries in this important sector.

For further information, please contact:

PR enquiries:

Reem El Shafaki
Senior Associate, DinarStandard™
80 Broad Street, 5th Floor
New York City, NY, USA
T: +1-732.872.4567
E: reem.elshafaki@dinarstandard.com


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