After months of discussion and inspections of plants, Russia has decided to import buffalo meat from India. As Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus have common customs standards, the buffalo meat would soon be shipped to these three CIS countries.
Sources told FE that a formal announcement would be made during Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to India next week.
As per formal protocol to be signed, customs union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan will import buffalo meat from four designated plants located in Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra.
Sources said buffalo meat would be exported from meat processing units at Aligarh, Barabanki, Rampur (Uttar Pradesh) and Aurangabad (Maharashtra) where inspectors from Russia will be stationed to monitor quality. These meat processing units belong to country’s largest buffalo meat exporter Allanasons and Amroon.
Russia is among the few countries that had put a ban on import of meat and poultry products from India due to occurrence of foot and mouth disease years ago.
The decision to set up an office in the country for monitoring buffalo meat exports to Russia was taken recently in a meeting in Delhi by Dmitry Rogzin, deputy prime minister of Russia, with external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj.
Russia’s move to source buffalo meat from India follows the ban imposed on fruits, vegetables, meat, fish, milk and dairy imports from the United States, the European Union, Australia and Canada in response to the sanctions imposed on it.
The Russian president had asked for limiting food imports from those countries that had imposed sanctions on Moscow for its support of rebels in eastern Ukraine and the annexation of Crimea. The ban is valid for one year starting August 7.
India has made it clear that it will not support sanctions sought to be imposed on Russia by a select group of countries led by the US.
Officials at the Agricultural and Processed Food Exports Development Authority (APEDA) said concerted efforts to eliminate diseases such as rinderpest and foot and mouth disease have produced fruit with a sharp increase in exports of meat products, including buffalo meat from India.
Rinderpest was eliminated in 1995 and World Organisation for Animal Health had officially declared India free of the disease. The incidents of foot and mouth disease have been sporadic.
The buffalo meat exports grew from R13,745 crore in 2011-12 to R26,457 crore in the last fiscal. Countries such as Vietnam, Malaysia, Egypt, Thailand and Saudi Arabia are the key export destinations for the buffalo meat products.