First Halal Shop in Belgrade Opens with USAID Assistance

U.S. Ambassador to Serbia Michael Kirby at the opening of a Halal shop in Belgrade
U.S. Ambassador to Serbia Michael Kirby at the opening of a Halal shop in Belgrade

For Immediate Release

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Belgrade, February 2013 - A group of food producers from Southwest Serbia opened Belgrade's first halal shop with support provided by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and Serbia's Office of Development of Underdeveloped Regions.

U.S. Ambassador Michael D. Kirby, Serbian Minister without a Portfolio Sulejman Ugljanin, Serbian Halal Agency Director Mustafa Jusufspahić, and "Keepers of Tradition" President Murat Zornić inaugurated the shop, which features goods from 11 food producers from Southwestern Serbia.

The opening of the halal shop in 2013 represented the conclusion of the USAID Economic Security Project's assistance to the Sandžak-region food producers, who organized themselves into a business cluster to reach new markets. 

Through a cost-sharing arrangement, USAID helped the Keepers of Tradition cluster attain halal certification, necessary to compete in export markets.  The halal-certified insignia identifies products that are produced in accordance with Islamic law, meeting Islamic dietary guidelines. 

The Belgrade halal shop opened a new, important domestic market for the cluster of small and medium-sized food producers, and marked an important milestone as they prepared to expand to export markets. 

The launch also marked the close of the Economic Security Project, which fostered the formation of five clusters of industries in South Serbia and Sandžak.  These included the 17-member ASSTEX cluster of apparel manufacturers around Novi Pazar; the 14-member Koštana shoe cluster in Vranje; the 17-member Prijepolje textile cluster; and the 10-member Preševo construction products cluster. Some of these clusters include schools, in addition to companies, so students can learn the trades that are flourishing in their communities.