Rattled by crackdown against illegal slaughterhouses, meat exporters eye Malaysia relief

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New Delhi | Published: April 6, 2017 6:15:42 AM

Meat exporters, rattled by the Uttar Pradesh government’s clampdown on illegal abattoirs, have a reason to be relieved.

Official sources told FE that a team comprising veterinarians from Malaysia will be visiting 23 processing meat processing units in Uttar Pradesh, besides inspecting 12 units in Maharashtra, Punjab and Andhra Pradesh. (IE)

Meat exporters, rattled by the Uttar Pradesh government’s clampdown on illegal abattoirs, have a reason to be relieved. A delegation from Malaysia, a major buyer of meat from India, is slated to visit buffalo-meat export processing units in the state later this month in a bid to ramp up purchases.

Official sources told FE that a team comprising veterinarians from Malaysia will be visiting 23 processing meat processing units in Uttar Pradesh, besides inspecting 12 units in Maharashtra, Punjab and Andhra Pradesh.

The delegation would be assessing how safety and quality standards are implemented at the meat processing units.

Malaysia’s annual domestic production of beef is around 52,000 tonnes, while demand is about 1.91 lakh tonnes, with about 60% of the requirement imported from India. In FY16, out of India’s total shipment of Rs 26, 681 crore worth of buffalo meat, exports to Malaysia were worth Rs 2,682 crore. During the April-February 2016-17 period, out of the total buffalo meat exports of Rs 23,645 crore, shipments to Malaysia were worth Rs 2,150 crore.

Although none of the 41 registered buffalo meat exporting units in Uttar Pradesh — which has a share of more than 50% of the country’s meat shipments — have been served notices by the state administration to close down as they have valid licences, some of the smaller units have closed down units on their own.

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Sources said that the visit of the Malaysian delegation would boost confidence of meat processors in Uttar Pradesh. The more than $4-billion export-oriented buffalo meat industry has been anticipating an upswing in shipments because the world’s biggest beef exporter, Brazil, at present faces a huge crisis because of allegation of contaminated meat, forcing importing countries to put a freeze on imports from there. Meanwhile, a leading buffalo exporter said that the demand from the international market is “strong” at this time as the Ramzan season will be beginning next month.

“More number of meat exporters are going to be approved by Malaysia. Right now only five to six approved exporters are there, this is likely to increase to 20,” a senior commerce ministry official said. “For us the Malaysian market (for buffalo meat exports) opened rather recently. But there is a strong lobby against Indian meat exports to Malaysia. This issue was also discussed with the Malaysian prime minister. As such we see no threat,” the official added.

Vietnam, Malaysia, Egypt, Thailand and Saudi Arabia are the top five export destination for India’s buffalo meat. Shipment to the tune Rs 12,252 crore had been to Vietnam in FY17 (April-February) out of the total shipment worth Rs 23,645 crore. Trade sourcessaid most of the meat consignments to Vietnam eventually go to China. Officials said concerted efforts to eliminate diseases such as rinderpest and foot-and- mouth disease among the buffalo population have borne fruit, resulting in a sharp increase in exports of meat products from India in the last many of years.

Currently, there are around 75 mechanised abattoirs and processing plants set up by the private sector, mostly located in Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra, and these plants follow all sanitary and phyto-sanitary requirements of the World Organisation for Animal Health.

(with inputs from Surbhi Prasad)

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