India:Top buffalo meat exporter

It can do more

-- Source

India is well on track to become the world’s largest bovine meat exporter in the current fiscal, thanks to sustained increase in production, capacity growth and competitive export prices,

The total value of India’s buffalo meat exports for the year 2010-11 was USD 1.9 billion which touched USD 2.3 billion during 2012-13. Projections for the current fiscal are much higher. Exports have nearly tripled since 2009, rising to 1.65 millon tonnes in 2012, according to USDA figures.

Buffalo meat has emerged as India’s second highest agri-export commodity after Basmati rice, according to data released by Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) under the Ministry of Commerce. Indian buffalo meat exports touched an all time high of Rs 13,917 crore in value terms in April-October 2013, representing an increase of nearly 58% over same period last year. In terms of quantity too, there has been 23% rise in buffalo meat exports from India.

Marketing of cow meat is banned in India, but legally, buffalo meat is classified as “beef”.

Buffalo production
India has about 58 per cent of the world’s population of buffaloes. Two schemes in operation in the country, namely, Salvaging and Rearing Male Buffalo Calves (SRMBC), and the Utilization of Fallen Animals scheme (UFA) have created new incentives to slaughter previously under-utilized buffalos. These schemes promote the rearing of buffalo bull calves for meat production and assist in achieving the targeted growth rate of 10% for the meat sector.

To keep pace with increasing production and exports, efforts haves been made to improve the infrastructure for the meat industry. As a result, India has now 40 world- class export-oriented integrated meat processing plants and 35 meat processing units. A few more are in the pipeline.

Safety and hygiene:
Not to compromise on the finer aspects of food safety and hygiene, care is taken to produce meat from animals procured from disease free zones. The processing plants strictly follow high-class sanitary and phyto-sanitary regulations. All India Meat & Livestock Exporters Association (AIMLEA) members have state-of-the-art, integrated establishments, incorporating mechanized abattoirs, operated in accordance with the Codex Alimentarius Standards, OIE Terrestrial Animal Health Code, besides having ISO 9001:2000 for Quality Systems, HACCP for Food Safety, ISO 14001 for Environment Management and ISO 18001 for Occupational Health and Safety Management System accreditations.

The cattle population in the country is almost free from diseases like Rinderpest, contagious bovine Pleuro pneumonia (CBPP), Rift Valley Fever, Bovine Spongiform and Encephalapathy. India has a good track record of producing safe meat as per the guidelines of Health Code for Terrestrial Animals of the OIE.

To promote safe standards in exports, the Directorate-General of Foreign Trade (DGFT)) issued in 2011 a notification, which stipulated that by June 2012, export of meat and meat products must be sourced exclusively from APEDA- registered abattoir or integrated abattoir.

The share of bovine meat in the total meat production in India is about 60% as against small ruminants (15%), pigs (10%) and poultry (12%). To produce the necessary quantities, the extraction rates in cattle are about 6%, buffaloes 11%, sheep 33%, goat 38% and pigs 84%.

Reliable exporter :
Meat exports from India commenced in 1969. For over four decades, it has built an enviable reputation of being a reliable exporter of risk-free, lean, nutritious and competitively priced meat. This has led to consistent, high compound growth rate in the export volumes. All these years, there has not been a single incidence of livestock- related disease outbreak reported from any one of the importing countries – numbering over 60 -- as a result of Indian origin frozen meat import. Among the important buyers of Indian bovine and other meat are Vietnam, Malaysia, Thailand, Australia, UAE, Saudi Arabia and Egypt.. India exports both frozen and fresh chilled meat.

Biggest exporting state
Among Indian states, Uttar Pradesh (UP) has emerged as the biggest exporter of buffalo meat, followed by Punjab and Maharashtra. Besides having the country's largest buffalo population, U P has also has the highest number of abattoirs- cum-meat processing export units. The state has 317 registered slaughterhouses and, in addition, 24 export-oriented units for buffalo meat. Of total Indian carabeef exports, 67% originates from this state.

Hind Agro Industries, Al Noor Exports, Al Nafees Frozen Food Exports, Frigerico Conserva Allana, Rustam Foods, Rayban Foods Private are some of the major exporters from UP. "The state has 645 cattle markets, which ensure that there is a steady supply of the raw material," said an exporter. Another leading exporter with a pan-India presence said that the next slew of investments by his company would be in UP. "We are looking to open 5-6 more units over the next 5-10 years in the state. The state machinery is supportive to the industry. Water, labour, infrastructure and various programmes on buffalo breeding, veterinary services and disease control are very efficient.”

Demand in China:
Interestingly, buffalo meat export to Vietnam has seen a surprising growth in the recent period. Between April-October 2013, buffalo meat exports to Vietnam rose by 229% in value terms, and more than 100% in quantity terms over the same period last year. Vietnam accounts for close to 40% buffalo meat exports from India.

“There has been a huge demand for Indian buffalo meat in China, which is routed through Vietnam now,” said Rizwan Shaikh of Al Shirin Exports.

Notably, China does not allow free import of Indian buffalo meat. Last year, the two countries signed a Memorandum of Understanding ( MoU) for direct export of buffalo meat, but the pact is yet to be implemented. Once ratified, the deal is likely to give a great fillip to buffalo meat exports from India, according to exporters.

Livestock sector in India
Spurting meat exports from India reflects the importance attached to the livestock sector in the country’s agro-economy.

According to estimates of Central Statistical Office, the value of output from the country’s livestock sector at current prices was Rs 4,59,051 crore in 2011-12, which is about 24. 8 per cent of the total value of output from agricultural and allied sector at current price. The value of output from the meat group in 2011-12 was Rs. 83.641 crore.

India is endowed with the largest livestock population in the world. It accounts for about 58 per cent of the world buffalo population and 14.7 per cent of the cattle population. There are about 71.6 million sheep, 140.5 million goats and about 11.1 million pigs in the country. India’s vast resource of livestock and poultry plays a vital role in improving the socio-economic conditions of the rural masses.

One of the major initiatives the government has launched in this financial year for sustainable development of the livestock sector is National Livestock Mission (NLM). An important component of NLM is a sub-mission to increase the availability of quality feed and fodder for the animals.

Indeed, the scope for development of India’s meat sector is vast. During the last few decades, India witnessed the Green, White and Blue Revolutions – in food grains, milk and fisheries -- and now the time has come to usher in one more Revolution, which may be called Red/Pink Revolution in the form of a quantum jump in meat production.