AU­THEN­TIC­ITY QUES­TIONS HOUND PHILIP­PINE HALAL GOAT IN­DUS­TRY

Agriculture - - A Challenge - BY JULIO P. YAP, JR.

THE COUN­TRY’S HALAL GOAT IN­DUS­TRY is con­fronted by the prob­lem of au­then­tic­ity, which is hin­der­ing its en­try into the huge in­ter­na­tional halal trade. To pen­e­trate the in­ter­na­tional mar­ket—a de­vel­op­ment which could pro­vide a vast source of busi­ness op­por­tu­ni­ties for lo­cal halal goat rais­ers—the prob­lem should be ad­dressed promptly. Many Filipino Mus­lim farm­ers raise goats which are clas­si­fied as ‘halal’; how­ever, these goats are only ac­cept­able to the lo­cal con­sumers in their re­spec­tive ar­eas.

WHAT IS HALAL? ‘Halal’ sim­ply means ‘per­mit­ted’ and/or ‘law­ful’. When we talk about ‘halal food’, the term refers to any food that may be eaten as it is in ac­cor­dance with the Shariah (the Is­lamic le­gal sys­tem) law. This means that for any food to be con­sid­ered halal, it must com­ply with the re­li­gious rit­u­als and ob­ser­vance of Shariah law.

In a study, re­searchers from the Sultan Ku­darat State Univer­sity (SKSU) and Univer­sity of South­ern Min­danao (USM) at­trib­uted the prob­lem to the ab­sence of halal goat pro­duc­tion and haram de­tec­tion pro­to­cols in the re­gion, and the farm­ers’ lim­ited knowl­edge of proper pro­duc­tion and post­pro­duc­tion prac­tices.

‘Haram’ is an Ara­bic term which means ‘sin­ful’, and it is used to re­fer to any act that is for­bid­den by Al­lah.

As a re­sult, goat meat sold as as halal in most mar­kets in Re­gion 12 are con­tam­i­nated with haram sub­stances, in­clud­ing pork de­riv­a­tives.

Most of the time, peo­ple will place their trust in the fact that an in­di­vid­ual who raises a goat or owns a meat shop is a Mus­lim who at least prac­tices most of the stric­tures of his or her re­li­gion to as­cer­tain whether the meat they are buy­ing is halal. How­ever, this is not enough to en­sure that the meat be­ing sold is truly halal.

The re­al­ity is that to de­ter­mine whether it is truly halal, re­search must be done re­gard­ing the source of the meat, with at­ten­tion paid to de­tails like the abat­toir from whence the meat came.

Ex­perts ex­plained that the halal sys­tem, as it ap­plies to food, in­cor­po­rates the con­cept of “farm to plate,” and cov­ers the en­tire halal food qual­ity as­sur­ance process. This is to pro­mote hy­giene and good health as pre­scribed by Al­lah and the Prophet Muham­mad, based on Is­lamic belief.

PRO­TO­COLS

To ad­dress the is­sue of how to de­ter­mine whether goat meat is au­then­tic halal, the Philip­pine Coun­cil for Agri­cul­ture, Aquatic and Nat­u­ral Re­sources Re­search of the De­vel­op­ment of the Depart­ment of Science and Tech­nol­ogy (DOST-PCAARRD)— through its Na­tional Goat Science and Tech­nol­ogy (S&T) Pro­gram—im­ple­mented a pro­ject on the es­tab­lish­ment of stan­dard pro­to­cols for halal goat pro­duc­tion and a qual­ity as­sur­ance sys­tem.

Based on the pro­gram, SKSU re­searchers de­vel­oped a set of pro­to­cols for rais­ing halal goats, while re­searchers from USM de­vel­oped pro­to­cols to de­tect haram or un­law­ful el­e­ments in halal goat meat pro­cessin. These pro­to­cols have been val­i­dated and proven to be func­tional. They in­cor­po­rate es­sen­tial el­e­ments of the science of halal goat pro­duc­tion vis-à-vis re­li­gious foun­da­tions of clean­li­ness, hy­giene, good health, and good in­ten­tions.

They also un­der­score ba­sic con­cerns such as the need for a strate­gic graz­ing and hous­ing sys­tem, health man­age­ment, and Shariah-com­pli­ant slaugh­ter­ing pro­ce­dures.

STRATE­GIC GRAZ­ING

Strate­gic graz­ing re­quires em­ploy­ing a Mus­lim shep­herd who will en­sure that the goats are herded in clean pas­tures for at least for two hours per day dur­ing sunny days, and housed dur­ing in­clement weather.

Clean pas­tures pro­hibit the use of the ma­nure of un­law­ful an­i­mals as soil ame­lio­rants in the for­age gar­den. It al­lows,

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