A raging political controversy over meat consumption, which culminated in the closing down of illegal abattoirs in March 2017 by the Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh, which accounts for the bulk of India’s buffalo meat exports, hasn’t slowed down shipments of the commodity in 2016-17. Also, despite a fall in basmati rice exports due to Iran’s regulations and some adverse impact of the note ban, a big jump in groundnut exports and sustained momentum in shipments of non-basmati rice and fruits and vegetables kept India’s farm exports robust in the last financial year.
Helped by a strong rupee, buffalo meat exports rose 9% in dollar terms to $982 million in January-March 2017 from the year-ago period. In volume terms, the item’s exports rose marginally from 1.31 million tonnes (mt) in 2015-16 to 1.33 mt in 2016-17; in rupee term, exports saw a moderate decline of 1.4% to Rs 26,303 crore. In dollar terms, exports of the item fell 3.5% to $3.93 billion in 2016-17. Buffalo meat account for a quarter of the country’s total exports of agricultural and processed food products in terms of value.
“We see no adverse impact of buffalo meat shipment even in the current fiscal as UP government has informed us that they have closed down only illegal abattoirs,” Apeda chairman DK Singh told FE. The exports-oriented buffalo meat industry is anticipating a further upswing in shipments, as the world’s biggest beef exporter, Brazil, is facing a crisis following allegations of contaminated shipments, forcing importing countries to put a freeze on meat from the South American nation.
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India’s overall the exports of agricultural and processed food rose 1.3% to Rs 1.07 lakh crore in 2016-17. The exports of fruit and vegetables and groundnut last fiscal grew by 13% and 34% to Rs 10,686 crore and Rs 5,454 crore, respectively. Singh said that with basmati rice shipment to Iran, the largest export destination, picking up pace in the last quarter of 2016-17, the exports prospect of the long-grain aromatic rice in the current fiscal looked bright.
However, the shipment of guargum, mostly used in US-based shale oil exploration, declined by close to 6% to Rs 3,131 crore in April-March 2017 compared with same period of the previous year. Shipments of floriculture products rose 10% to Rs 545 crore last fiscal from Rs 483 crore reported in the 2015-16. Iran, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Vietnam, Malaysia and the UK are the top destinations for India’s agricultural and processed food exports.