INDIA - The expansion of the Indian buffalo meat herd and buffalo meat exports is expected to continue over the next five years.
A study commissioned by Meat and Livestock Australia shows that exports of buffalo (carabeef) could reach 2.2 million tonnes carcase weight equivalent by 2020.
The growth in exports is part of the continued expansion of the market that has been seen in India over the last three years, according to the MLA research.
The further expansion is based on the projected growth of India’s dairy sector, of which carabeef is a by-product, continued demand in international markets and the abundant supply of water buffalo throughout the Indian sub-continent.
Because beef consumption is shunned on religious grounds by Hindus, who account for approximately 80 per cent of the Indian population, there is a substantial surplus from the routine culling of unproductive and dry buffalo cows for export.
Meat and Livestock Australia says that carabeef exporters have established a strong foothold in markets that are expected to expand under the combined power of population growth and higher per capita incomes, like China, Malaysia, Viet Nam and Saudi Arabia.
According to the report, Indian carabeef is currently trading below Australian beef in global markets, yet it is apparent that carabeef prices are rising to follow trends for Australian and Brazilian product.
Forecasts for growth in the Muslim and Christian segments of the Indian population are expected to underpin an increase in domestic disappearance by around 900,000 tonnes carcase weight equivalent, which would mean approximately 14kg per capita consumption among that group of people by 2020.
MLA added that assuming there will be no changes in the status of the current grey channel trade through Viet Nam and Thailand, exports to China are expected to reach 1.375 million tonnes carcase weight equivalent, and account for about 60 per cent of India’s carabeef exports.
The report for MLA also shows that India is unlikely to supply Australia’s traditional markets within the short to medium term.
The modelling suggests that while increased supply of carabeef will put downward pressure on world beef prices, the current market is sufficiently flexible to redistribute product to different markets in response to relatively small changes in price.
TheMeatSite News Desk