The Middle East is one of the leading consumer markets that relies heavily on imports due to its low agricultural capacity. Ethiopia, in close proximity, has one of the most robust agrarian economies with leading livestock numbers. Nonetheless, only countries that have adopted the halal certification framework are tapping into the Middle East’s consumer market. Ethiopia is mostly absent in this regard. The linking of unapproved animal meat as the cause of COVID-19 has deepened the acceptance of halal certified foods, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, and other products even in non-Muslim nations. Religion is leveling up to science.
In a bid to cutout the halal barrier to Ethiopia’s exports to the Middle East and beyond, a new strategy of interlinking gulf countries’ halal accreditation systems with Ethiopia’s is taking root. To this end, Ethiopian slaughterhouses are working towards certification by the new system to export halal-certified food. Halal is expected to boost Ethiopia’s exports and free it from the USD3 billion chokehold of the past decade. EBR’s Ashenafi Endale explores