MSMEs are encouraged to use blockchain technologies to enhance national halal export competitiveness.

Blockchain is defined by IBM as "a shared, immutable ledger that records transactions and tracks assets in a business network. Virtually anything of value can be tracked and traded on blockchain networks, reducing risks and cutting costs."

A blockchain network can effectively track orders, payments, accounts, production and members can see all details of a transaction end-to-end, giving them greater confidence as well as new efficiencies and opportunities.

Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Undersecretary Abdulgani Macatoman said in a webinar that blockchain is a "good solution" in providing reliable data and increasing trust in the halal supply chains because of it is transparent and traceable.

"This increases the seamless and efficient halal process from farm to plate. It improves sustainability of the halal supply chains and increases consumers' confidence in the halal brands, global recognition of the halal products," he said.

Macatoman then added that halal blockchain technology will provide a "clear advantage" to manufacturers, retailers, logistic service providers, distributors and halal certification bodies to establish trust and authenticity in the products.

"With the increasing demand on halal food, it opens a floodgate of business opportunities to our MSMEs thereby contributing to the Philippines halal exports," he added,

Chief of Halal section at DTI-Export Marketing Bureau, Leah Alejandro, also asked the MSMEs to make the most of opportunities from technological advancement in the global halal market. According to projections, halal food alone will be valued at about US$1.93 trillion by 2022.

"There are still modest fashion, halal cosmetics and pharmaceuticals, halal travel and logistics, halal media and recreation and of course Islamic finance which alone is worth US$5.22 trillion. So, there is really no dearth in opportunities in the export trade but we have to be prepared to take on the demands and standards expected by the global market," she said.

Alejandro said blockchain technology will help improve not just halal export competitiveness but will also show how much the country is adapting to digital modes of business.

"For businesses, how to identify and keep track of everything that gives value and still achieve new efficiencies and increased productivity," she concluded. "(In) exporting halal certified products and services, as with certified organic or in Kosher, we need to prove that our standards are at par with acceptable international standards. We need to build trust, something very challenging to do since we are still very young, almost a baby in the certified world."