Where Indian buffalo meat exports go

Vietnam is by far the largest importer, data show; it is likely, however, that the bulk of the over 6 lakh tonnes of carabeef shipped to Vietnam finds its way unofficially to China

By: Express News Service | New Delhi | Updated: April 12, 2017 8:17 am
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Brazil and India have been vying for the top spot in world beef exports over the past several years. In 2014, India dislodged Brazil from the number 1 slot, according to United States Department of Agriculture data. The latest data from 2016 show India and Brazil tied on top — with both countries accounting for just under 20% each of the world’s total beef exports. They, along with Australia and New Zealand, are the world’s largest beef exporting countries, as per the US data.

An important clarification here is that India does not officially export the meat of cows. The so-called “beef” that it exports is buffalo meat, which is also known as “carabeef”. The United States “beef” data includes carabeef. The bulk of India’s buffalo meat exports are to Asian countries — 11 of the top 15 destinations for buffalo meat by value in 2015-16 were in Asia and 3 in Africa (Algeria, Egypt, and Angola). Russia was the 15th destination — at No. 15 in the list of the top 15.

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The biggest market for Indian buffalo meat, at Rs 13,125 crore, was Vietnam in 2015-16. Malaysia (Rs 2,683 cr) was a distant second, followed by Egypt (Rs 2,326 cr), Saudi Arabia (Rs 1,416 cr) and Iraq (Rs 767 cr). However, Vietnam by itself does not have the capacity to absorb this value (just under half the total) and quantity (over 6 lakh tonnes, or 46% of the total) of buffalo meat exports — and the bulk of the consignments to that country are said to make their way eventually to China. China technically does not import any buffalo meat from India. However, a grey market has developed in recent times, with Chinese traders reportedly using Vietnam’s Haiphong port to bring in Indian buffalo meat loaded on small vessels.

The buffalo meat exported by India is mostly raw, de-boned chunks, used primarily in the processed and canned food industry. Very little makes its way to kitchens for direct consumption by individuals. This is because carabeef is tougher, and is hence considered inferior to cow meat; for this reason, it also fetches a discount to regular beef in the world market. Thus, the average free-on-board price of buffalo meat exported from India in 2014-15 was $ 3,240 (about Rs 2.1 lakh) per tonne, whereas the corresponding unit value for chilled and frozen beef cuts from Brazil was $ 4,515 (more than Rs 2.9 lakh).

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Lower prices, along with the proximity to key consuming markets in Southeast Asia and West Asia, has imparted a huge competitive edge to Indian buffalo meat exports in recent years.

Thus, between 2009 and 2014, India’s beef exports more than trebled from around 0.6 million tonnes to over 2 million tonnes in carcass weight equivalent terms. In value terms, shipments more than quadrupled from $ 1,163.54 million in 2009-10 (April-March) to $ 4,781.18 million in 2014-15. In the process, beef also become India’s No. 1 agri-export item, ahead of basmati rice ($ 4,518.25 million).

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  1. R
    Rasiq
    Apr 15, 2017 at 2:08 pm
    Government should ban beef export with immediate effect. It is a fundamental right of Buffaloes to live peacefully too. Stop beef export and make adequate control measures to stop it. Buffaloes lives matter too. If the government is really committed to Cattle protection. STOP BEEF EXPORT
    Reply
    1. S
      Sreesheel Sreekumar
      Apr 13, 2017 at 5:31 pm
      Certain organization and state governments are against the slaughter of both cows and buffaloes ! The government and these organizations should run huge dairy farms ! The products can be milk, curd, ghee, l i, ice cream, sweets made of milk, cow dung (manure), cow (ayurvedic medicines), hide of dead animals (if it is okay), etc. A part of revenue generated from this initiative should be used to take care of old cows and buffaloes ! Technology should be developed wherein the of the newborn can be decided, thus producing more female cows and buffaloes ! These dairy farms should also manufacture their own cow / buffalo feed !
      Reply
      1. J
        Joe
        Apr 13, 2017 at 3:42 pm
        This is sheer case of discrimination on the colour of skin amongst bovines (cows and buffalos). Both cow and buffalo give us same products but buffalo is not a mother unlike cow... just because she is black??? Buffalos must protests instead of killer buffoons
        Reply
        1. S
          Sandeep Bhasin
          Apr 13, 2017 at 5:04 pm
          Hope people understand your sarcasm :-)
          Reply
          1. C
            Chaudhary Tau
            Apr 15, 2017 at 11:40 pm
            Does Sonia command same respect as Maya? It does matter whether its Black or White, remember Michael Jai Kishan?
            Reply
          2. L
            lafanga
            Apr 13, 2017 at 2:59 pm
            Ok so what is the difference between a buffalo and a cow ... anatomically speaking? Both are domesticated, both provide milk yet cow is revered and buffalo is slaughtered. Another Indian hypocrisy.
            Reply
            1. D
              Dipak
              Apr 13, 2017 at 6:41 am
              Kapil Sibal Family is India's and World's largest beef exporting company.
              Reply
              1. D
                dhruv
                Apr 13, 2017 at 6:02 pm
                No it's sangeet som's family that is the biggest.
                Reply
              2. P
                Priyank
                Apr 12, 2017 at 6:33 pm
                Black lives matter too
                Reply
                1. V
                  vinayak
                  Apr 12, 2017 at 5:41 pm
                  Poor innocent buffalo is being slaughtered but Modi & his govt does not care . Pink revolution is booming and our beef exports have increased n the in the last 3 years. Only 45per cent of the milk produced in India is from Cows rest is from Buffaloes . Buffalo gives us milk and yet we slaughter it for beef ? BJP & Modi Govt shed crocodile tears for cows , why not for poor buffalo ? Why this discrimination ?
                  Reply
                  1. V
                    vinayak
                    Apr 12, 2017 at 5:33 pm
                    Poor innocent buffalo is being slaughtered but Modi & his govt does not care . Pink revolution is booming and our beef exports have increased n the in the last 3 years. Only 45 of the milk produced in India is from Cows rest is from Buffaloes . Buffalo gives us milk and yet we slaughter it for beef ? BJP , Modi & his sanghi comrades shed crocodile tears for cows , why not for poor buffalo ? Why this discrimination ?
                    Reply
                    1. A
                      Ankur
                      Apr 12, 2017 at 10:19 pm
                      Buffaloes are sent for slaughter after their usefulness in milk production is over. Buffaloes give better milk during their lifetime and after that they fetch good price from slaughterhouses. That's the reason people prefer buffaloes more than cows.
                      Reply
                    2. L
                      lafanga
                      Apr 12, 2017 at 5:13 pm
                      Right wing Hindus won't allow Muslims to eat beef in India but are happy to make money exporting it to other countries. Hypocrites of the highest order.
                      Reply
                      1. D
                        DA
                        Apr 12, 2017 at 3:53 pm
                        Cattle reared for their meat, as in this case, cause environmental havoc. Each kilo of beef needs 17000 litres of water and 28 hectares of pasture. Effectively, we destroy our environment to feed other countries. Two things need to happen - (a) allow for foetus selection so unwanted male cattle are not born (b) Move up the chain in products - buffalo meat produces mozarella - the most common cheese in India being used in the pizza industry. Over a lifetime, a female buffalo will be far more valuable for the mozarella, compared to the measly returns on her flesh. We'll save the environment, and bring our farmers prosperity. Mozarella produced in small units is a boutique item that can be used by artesnal pizza outlets. Those who still must eat beef and carabeef, should be allowed to import it to meet their culinary urges. My suggestion is not an ault on consumer choice, just a suggestion for sustainable future for our large and growing po tion. Good wishes and peace.
                        Reply
                        1. N
                          Nagar
                          Apr 12, 2017 at 4:05 pm
                          [Huge refrigerant units are needed to preserve meat right after 'slaughter' to 'dining table'- which may be years. This alone is sufficient to destroy our ecology.] [Transportation of animals & Transportation of Meat to millions of miles account for alarming release of pollutants] [Does our PM not realize this?] [Is he so foolish he is unable to realize the invisible ENVIRONMENTAL DESTRUCTION in the glare of earning few BILLION CURRENCY NOTES?]
                          Reply
                        2. N
                          Nagar
                          Apr 12, 2017 at 1:24 pm
                          ‘The tobacco industry fought for years to suppress the evidence that smoking causes cancer. They put their profits before public health and, as a result, are responsible for the sickness and deaths of millions of people. And now, the meat industry – when faced with ac ulating evidence of serious human disease caused by their products – is resorting to the same dirty tricks
                          Reply
                          1. S
                            sahil
                            Apr 12, 2017 at 3:45 pm
                            and you believe this trash you have written? you must be one of the savrnas or a jain?
                            Reply
                            1. N
                              Nagar
                              Apr 12, 2017 at 4:17 pm
                              [Meat is not a healthful choice for anyone and should be avoided entirely, according to a recent review of more than 7,000 clinical studies examining the connection between diet and cancer! ] [The report was commissioned by The World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) using money raised from the general public. ] [Therefore the findings were not influenced by any vested interests, making it all the more reliable.]
                              1. T
                                TECHNICAL
                                Apr 12, 2017 at 4:23 pm
                                World Health Organization has determined that dietary factors account for at least 30 percent of all cancer cases. When cancer researchers started to search for links between diet and cancer, one of the most noticeable findings was that people who avoided meat were much less likely to develop the disease. Large studies in England and Germany showed that vegetarians were about 40 percent less likely to develop cancer compared to meat eaters JUST VISIT A CANCER WARD OF ANY INDIAN HOSPITAL. 30 DUE TO MEAT. 40 DUE TO TOBACCO & REST ON ENVIRONMENTAL & LIFESTYLES.
                            2. V
                              vijay
                              Apr 12, 2017 at 12:45 pm
                              All the cows in India will be letting out a collective sigh of relief. Hope they all will sleep well from now on.
                              Reply
                              1. J
                                Judith Fernandes
                                Apr 13, 2017 at 2:32 pm
                                Pls check at any hospital treating cancer patients. How many of those suffering cancer are due to consumption of beef ?
                                Reply
                              2. P
                                Phani
                                Apr 12, 2017 at 10:52 am
                                You have managed to get the data from US food department and cited the same. However, did you try to file and RTI with our country and get more accurate details, and then file an article with better statistics?
                                Reply
                                1. A
                                  abhishek Mittal
                                  Apr 12, 2017 at 10:22 am
                                  Beef..cow.. dia in one article. You must be very courageous. Can be booked for s'edition'. Good informative article. It will be good if social and economic impact of the meat export is also discussed.
                                  Reply
                                  1. A
                                    Arun Kumar
                                    Apr 12, 2017 at 10:01 am
                                    Interesting article- Fine line between emotions, beliefs, directive principles of cons ution and hard realities of farming and India's rural economy.
                                    Reply
                                    1. A
                                      ah
                                      Apr 12, 2017 at 9:16 am
                                      what about COW meat, how much Cow meat is exported???? ......... don't tell me India does not export Cow meat at all
                                      Reply
                                      1. D
                                        DA
                                        Apr 12, 2017 at 3:57 pm
                                        Most cow meat in India is unfit for human consumption. Male calves are usually starved to death at the outset, and female cows are slaughtered after they have stopped yielding milk. By that time, they have been repeatedly injected with oxytocin to improve milk yield, which renders their meet unsafe - particularly for pre-puberty girls. Most of what is exported is for pet food, or the carc and offal are used to breed catfish. Hides are still considered valuable, though.
                                        Reply
                                      2. G
                                        g
                                        Apr 12, 2017 at 9:04 am
                                        The buffaloes are innocent and they are imbued with prana and they form an integral part of the cosmos. Do not kill them also.
                                        Reply
                                        1. J
                                          JAK
                                          Apr 12, 2017 at 9:37 pm
                                          Please spare a moment to ponder over the fate plant life and their progeny(seeds).
                                          Reply
                                        2. T
                                          Tariq Idrisi
                                          Apr 12, 2017 at 8:25 am
                                          so far we r facing problems w human po tion after ur advice there will be another major challenge and threat to human survival and alternatively u will need to kill them for no reason
                                          Reply
                                          1. T
                                            Tariq Idrisi
                                            Apr 12, 2017 at 8:22 am
                                            Rajveer Singh ....get the out of here if u dont know about the consequences of banning carabeef lovers to eat it...
                                            Reply
                                            1. R
                                              Rajveer Singh
                                              Apr 12, 2017 at 8:00 am
                                              Any one for this cruel act stoppage . Why not speak for this poor animal
                                              Reply
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