By Maya M. Padillo, Correspondent

DAVAO CITY has partnered with data technology firm Fusionex International to set up a digital platform for halal goods produced by small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Mindanao.

“By establishing the E-Halal hub, we are hoping to provide access to new markets for the SMEs within Davao and Mindanao area… with this technology they will be able to access markets outside and to be able to extend business beyond the Philippines,” Fusionex International Managing Director Thomas Khoo said during the Oct. 23 session of the Mindanao Business Conference webinar series focusing on halal industry opportunities.

Mr. Khoo explained that the Davao E-Halal Hub Platform will not just be a trading and marketing site, but will integrate the end-to-end supply chain “to make the entire process seamless and more efficient.”

It will be a digital ecosystem that will include information on suppliers along with product origin, warehousing and transport, business matching venue and virtual expo, finance and insurance, and permits and licensing.

Marilou W. Ampuan, vice chair of the Davao Regional Halal Committee, said the agreement for establishing the e-hub was signed August 25 by Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio of Davao City, the first local government to have an ordinance relating to the promotion of halal goods and services.

Ms. Ampuan said the initiative aims to strengthen the city’s positioning as a “halal-friendly” destination.

“We are happy to be working with the city of Davao for this exciting project,” said Mr. Khoo, noting that the venture contributes to both helping SMEs as well as the push for digitalization.

Fusionex International has offices in Europe, United States, Australia, Hong Kong, and the southeast Asian nations of Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, and Cambodia.

Senior Trade and Industry Development Specialist Raison D. Arobinto of the Export Management Bureau said the government’s halal development program has been getting a boost from technological innovations covering the global industry.

“The revolutionary factor here is the digital transformation that is taking place nowadays. Digitalization helps the halal industry. We have many halal apps now, halal content,” he said in the same forum.

Mr. Arobinto said the Department of Trade and Industry is continuously pursuing negotiations for mutual recognition arrangements with several countries such as Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, and the United Arab Emirates to ease the movement of halal goods.

He said aside from food products, there are also opportunities for manufacturing halal clothing, and pharmaceuticals and cosmetics.