Meat Exports Dip 15% , But No Plan to Lift Ban on Selling Beef Abroad
New Delhi: Bovine meat exports from the country dipped as much as 15% last year, the government told Lok sabha on Monday while confirming there was no move to lift the ban on shipping out beef.
The government told the Lower House in reply to a written question that there was no proposal before it to relax the ban on exporting cow meat.
The sale of buffalo meat fell by 15% last year - down to 3.9 billion USD from 4.5 billion USD - compared to 2014-15 when India had pipped Brazil to become the largest exporter.
The issue came up in Parliament on a day when the Narendra Modi government was engaged in a war of words with aggressive cow vigilante groups who want a central law banning cow slaughter.
The surge in export in the final years of the Congress government had prompted Narendra Modi to famously call it the pink revolution and use it as a campaign point in the Lok Sabha polls.
The fall in figures will be good news for the BJP and other members of the Sangh Parivar who are not comfortable with India's status as the world's largest carabeef exporter.
According to the existing meat export policy, export of beef - meat of cow, oxen and calf - is prohibited. Only the meat of male and female buffaloes, known as carabeef, and the meat of goat and sheep can be sold abroad.
The dip in terms of quantity is 13%, from 1.5 mn tonnes to 1.31 mn tonnes. Since buffalo meat makes up 90% of India's meat exports, the overall figures have come down concomitantly.
The provisional figures for the month of April-May this year is pegged at 567M USD, which is not a very promising rate of export.
The government told the House that it receives representations frequently from various religious organisations demanding a ban on the export of meat and its products.
In 2007, the Supreme Court had asked the Centre to review its meat export policy within the framework of Directive Principles of State Policy in the Constitution.
The current policy, the government said, is in the interest of farmers, livestock producers, meat consumers, traders, stake holders and stake holders of other sectors such as dairy farming and leather manufacturing.