Live animals export saw a 400% growth in 2015-16, despite the fact that exports fell for the 17th month in a row going by the data released by the commerce department.
Live animals export including buffaloes, sheep, goat, pigs, bullock and poultry earned the country $68 million in 2015-16 as opposed to $12 million in the previous year. It is a trend that will continue to sustain reveal those involved in the trade.
India is the world’s largest exporter of buffalo meat though the export of live cows or beef (meat of cow, oxen or calf) is banned under the Meat Export Policy.
Sheep export growth has been phenomenal. From only a meagre $10,000 in 2014-15, sheep export now earns the nation a little over $25 million.
“Sheep are being exported to the Gulf countries, particularly the United Arab Emirates, as exporters have received major contracts there,” said Meerut-based Mohammed Rizwan, director, India Frozen Foods. There are cost advantages here, he added.
Previously the most exported live animal from India, goat exports grew by 281% to $42 million in 2015-16. It was $11 million the year before. While goat is also exported to West Asia, UAE accounted for more than half of the imports.
According to a trader, the surge in exports could be due to the fact that the world has come to realise that goat meat is a healthier option than sheep meat. He also named the substantial Indian expatriate population and Indians who own retail businesses that sell goat meat as the reason behind the sudden popularity of goat meat overseas.
Another top importer of goat was Nepal. “While the number of goats exported to the Gulf countries generally goes up before the month of Ramzan, exports last year happened throughout the year,” a commerce ministry official said.