Centre mulls reviving animal markets

New Delhi: Meat sales and exports may pick up significantly as the Centre is considering reviving animal markets and allowing movement of goats, sheep and buffaloes by road, particularly in Uttar Pradesh, which has a large number of abattoirs and is a hub for exports, according to top officials.

Exports have come to a standstill as most meat units ran out of existing stocks early this month and animal markets have been shut for weeks. Animal husbandry minister of Uttar Pradesh, Lakshmi Narayan Chaudhari, said curbs will slowly be lifted, which should cheer famers and exporters in the state that accounts nearly 70% of buffalo meat export from India and has 43 of country’s 70 buffalo meat processing and exporting units.

The situation is considerably better in southern states, where firms say they are running at 70% capacity. “Since April, buffalo meat exporting companies haven’t been able to process and have been exporting stock that was ready before the lockdown was announced. This month, exports have stopped and we requested the government to allow us to source directly or open the farmers market,” said a representative of the All India Livestock Exporters Association.

He added that the industry can directly source animals from farmers and agents, and that the government had assured the industry that it will address its concerns.

India annually exports 10-12 lakh tonnes of buffalo meat valued at Rs 20,000 crore.

All buffalo meat exporting plants approved by Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) in Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Telangana and Punjab are shut due to non-availability of livestock and animal markets not operating, said the association.

Nishanth Chandra, founder and CEO, Tendercuts, which supplies fresh goat meat and seafood in Tamil Nadu and Telangana, said local supplies have begun and units were running at 70% capacity, unlike north and west India.

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