Exports of beef haven't come down: Harsimrat
The Dollar Business Bureau
Food Processing Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal on Tuesday said that there is no decline in the exports of buffalo meat from legal slaughter houses in the country.
The latest crackdown of illegal abattoirs in Uttar Pradesh is in compliance with the order of Supreme Court to check environment pollution and to protect the health of people, the Minister added.
India, the biggest exporter of buffalo meat, shipped $3.76 billion worth of meat in the financial year 2016-17, according to Ministry of Commerce data.
In April, the exports of beef dropped by 10.35% to $257.06 million compared to $287 million in the same month last year, as per the data given in Agricultural & Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) data.
“As far as I know, the export (of beef) takes place from legal places as quality and standards have to be maintained. I doubt whether illegal slaughter houses were exporting. To say that in the last two months, exports have come down it is incorrect,” Badal told journalists on the sidelines of an event.
The Minister’s statement is in contrast to the claims of All India Meat and Livestock Exporters’ Association, a body representing exporters of frozen buffalo meat, which said that the exports declined in the month of April over March and expects that the declining trend might continue.
The buffalo meat sector has been severely hit by a latest notification by the Ministry of Environment to ban the sale of animals for slaughtering.
The government is taking stringent action against the illegal slaughter houses because the apex court had ordered to close down these abattoirs due to a threat to environment and health.
“Many governments had turned a blind eye (illegal abattoirs) due to political reasons,” Badal said.
However, the current government under Prime Minister Narendra Modi is taking measures to implement the Supreme Court order for protecting environment as well as people’s health, she added.
In March, the Uttar Pradesh government had acted against the illegal slaughter houses in the state, making the industry to go on a strike. Last month, the central government banned the trade of cattle in animal markets for the purpose of slaughter.
Recently, Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO) Director-General Ajay Sahay had said that the ban on cattle trade would affect the exports of meat in the coming months.
“There is a need to do necessary changes to address supply side constraints,” he said.