In a bid to ensure uninterrupted exports of buffalo meat and poultry products, the Centre is working on a measure to declare Punjab, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana as foot and mouth disease (FMD) and bird flu-free zones.
Department of Animal Husbandry under the ministry of agriculture will shortly apply for ‘zoning certification’ from Paris-based World Organisation of Animal Health (OID), which would allow shipment of meat and poultry products from these states or zones notwithstanding any break of diseases in other parts of the country.
However, for getting this certification, the Centre had to validate that there were no outbreaks of any animal diseases from these regions in the last two years besides putting up stringent vaccination regimes amongst animals. Currently, any outbreak of FMD or bird flu amongst animals in any region adversely impact the India’s buffalo meat and poultry products exports.
“Once we get the OID certification, any amount of milk and meat products could be exported from these three states or zones,” Devendra Chaudhary, secretary, department of animal husbandry, dairying and fisheries, told FE. A technical committee set up by the department is already preparing on the report on these three states or zones.
Because of FMD vaccination initiative amongst animal population, India’s buffalo meat exports have risen sharply in the last couple of years. According to commerce ministry data, India’s buffalo meat exports in the last fiscal was Rs 26,681 crore, which had reached a record Rs 29,282 crore in FY15. Similarly in case of dairy product shipment, the country’s exports was Rs 1,681 crore in FY16. In 2013-14, the dairy export was Rs 4,407 crore.
According to an estimate by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), direct loss to milk and meat sector is around Rs 20,000 crore per annum because of FMD. According to an official, indirect losses due to reduced milk output is more.
In order to prevent economic losses, the ‘foot and mouth disease control programme’ had been implemented last one decade or so. However, the programme covers 351 districts in 13 states and six Union territories including Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Maharashtra, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Goa, Rajasthan, Bihar, Puducherry, Delhi, Andaman & Nicobar,
The scope of the programme has been extended to cover remaining states from the current fiscal. An official said that FMD is to be eliminated from the country in the next couple of years. Under Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana, Rs 100 crore had been sanctioned during 2016-17 for FMD vaccination in non-covered areas.
According to FAO report, the ICAR’s project directorate on FMD had reported the detection of the disease in the 35 examined clinical samples of which 30 were collected from cattle and five from buffaloes.