A woman counts money at a food fair in the village of Ulyanovka, south-east of Stavropol, Russia December 22, 2015. REUTERS/Eduard Korniyenko
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The manager of a sausage factory near Moscow, Arslan Gizatullin says his halal business has been feeling the pinch -- not so much from Russia's sluggish economy but competitors vying for a piece of a growing Islamic market. Ever more producers are catering for the domestic Muslim community, which accounts for around 15 percent of Russia's population and is set to expand, and in some cases are also setting their sights on export. Tatar officials told Russian media the halal food market accounted for around 7 billion rubles a year ($110 million) -- or just over 3 percent of the region's gross agricultural output.Russia's overall economy is stagnant, with the government predicting growth of only 1.3 percent this year, after 2.3 percent growth in 2018 .Lilit Gevorgyan, principal economist for Russia and former Soviet states at IHS Markit, said the growth in Russia's halal economy seemed impressive but was coming from a "very low base".Changing Muslim countries' perception of Russia will be key if Moscow is serious about increasing halal exports, Gevorgyan added.
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