India’s buffalo meat exports to Russia, which commenced earlier this year, have hit a roadblock following several cases of foot-and-mouth disease reported from Uttar Pradesh.
Sources told FE that Russia had commenced import of buffalo meat earlier this year from four processing plants located in Aligarh, Barabanki, Rampur (Uttar Pradesh) and Aurangabad (Maharashtra) where inspectors from Russia had been stationed to monitor quality.
“Russia has decided to limit buffalo meat deliveries from units located in Uttar Pradesh following several cases of foot-and-mouth disease which had been reported from the state,” an official said.
After months of discussion and inspections of plants last year, Russia has decided to import buffalo meat from India.
As Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus have common customs standards, the buffalo meat exports commenced to these three CIS countries earlier this year.
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. Although, India is globally one of the largest buffalo meat suppliers, Russia did not import any meat from the country before 2015.
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 last year.
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.
India had 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.
Russia was earlier exploring possibility of importing from India and the decision to set up an office in the country for monitoring buffalo meat shipment was taken in a meeting last year in Delhi by Dmitry Rogzin, deputy prime minister of Russia, with external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj.
Meanwhile, officials said that concerted efforts to eliminate diseases such as rinderpest and foot-and- mouth disease among buffalo population have borne fruit with a sharp increase in exports of meat products from India in the last couple of years.
India’s buffalo meat shipment has risen sharply from R13,745 crore in 2011 – 12 to R29,282 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.
The major areas for buffalo meat production include Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Punjab.