The Bharatiya Janata Party’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi may have overlooked Gujarat’s contribution to the increase in India’s meat production during his tirade against the Congress at election rallies in Madhya Pradesh, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.
Data compiled by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry from Gujarat’s Pollution Control Board reveals that meat production in the State, under Mr. Modi, more than doubled in 10 years.
Gujarat produced 22,000 tonnes of meat in 2010-11 against 10,600 tonnes of meat in 2001-02. During the same period, India’s meat production grew from 18,59,430 tonnes to 48,69,000 tonnes, or by 163%.
With 39 abattoirs, which slaughters over 1,000 animals a day, Gujarat is amongst the top 10 States in India in terms of the number of slaughterhouses.
During his campaign, the BJP leader accused the Congress of promoting cow slaughter. “We brought in the white revolution in the country, but the Congress wants a pink revolution,” Mr. Modi said in Ghaziabad on Thursday, referring to the meat industry.
The alarmist spin Mr. Modi sought to put on the livestock sector in rural India, resulting from rising meat exports, may be unwarranted. Data reveals that overall, export of dairy products is growing faster.
Data made available by the Agriculture & Processed Food Products Export Development Authority shows that buffalo meat exports grew 27% in 2012-13 over the previous year. This rate of growth was, however, 10 percentage points slower than the rate at which exports from the entire animal products sector rose.
Dairy sector surges ahead
More significantly, dairy products, mainly skimmed milk powder, grew much faster than meat exports — at 388%, a clear indication of an expanding sector. A shrinking livestock sector is unlikely to yield such a steep export growth rate.
Amongst dairy products, skimmed milk powder became the largest item of export last year accounting for nearly 77% of the net milk and milk products exports during 2012-13. Bangladesh, Egypt, the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Algeria were the major importers of India’s dairy products, the data revealed.
The main market for Indian buffalo meat and other animal products are Vietnam, Malaysia, Thailand, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the UAE. India exported buffalo meat for Rs. 17,413 crore during 2012-13. Whereas revenue from export of dairy products exports was Rs. 1,412 crore.
Exports of other animal products which have grown are poultry products (7%) and natural honey (11%). However, export of processed meat has shrunk by 28%. The countries to which these products were exported are the U.S., Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Germany, Netherlands and Denmark among others.