Meat is essentially animal flesh consumed worldwide as per religious, cultural, and spiritual preferences. Consumption of meat has seen a rapid rise over the last century. Changing consumption habits could be attributed to lifestyle changes and inclination for an alternate source of protein.
On average per capita, consumption has increased approximately by 20 kilograms since 1961. Rapid urbanization, exposure to new cultures and rising disposable incomes are also some of the factors causing a rise in meat consumption. Even a country like India which has been primarily vegetarian for the past centuries is also showing increasing trends in meat consumption. Despite the stress on a plant-based protein diet by environmental advocates, meat consumption has not shown any sign of slowing down. Keeping aside the factor of effect on the environment, bulk trading of meat offers a lucrative business opportunity for exporters and importers.
Export and import of meat not only benefits the buyers and sellers but also the rural economy engaged in the production of livestock. Livestock includes cow, buffalo, goat, sheep, cock, hen, pigs, duck, pigeon, rabbit, horse, etc. Livestock rearing is an important source of livelihood for rural folks in a developing country like India. India holds the unique distinction of sheltering the largest livestock population of approximately 512 million. This does not even include poultry. India remains the largest exporter of buffalo meat to the global market followed by Brazil and Australia. Large export of buffalo meat can be attributed to a large no. of buffaloes. India accounts for about 58% of the world’s buffalo population. India has developed an impeccable reputation for delivering fresh, nutritious, risk-free and competitively priced meat. Among the major importers of Indian buffalo meat are countries like Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, Saudi Arabia, Australia, UAE and Egypt. Among the Indian states, UP leads the chart in the export of buffalo meat followed by Punjab and Maharashtra. Besides, having the largest buffalo population, Uttar Pradesh also has the greatest no. of licenses, Govt. approved abattoirs.
Meat production for the final export takes place in different stages. The first component of production includes the sale and purchase of livestock cattle in the open market. The sale may be on a daily/weekly/monthly/quarterly or annual basis. Common animals sold include buffalo, sheep, goats, pigs and poultry. The next step involves the slaughtering of animals to extract the flesh from it. Slaughter may take place by trained butchers (for retail sale) or in modern abattoirs for the export-oriented process. Meat is then transferred in refrigerated trucks/containers from the production point to the port for export to foreign countries. The leftover skin and rawhides are used in the leather industry. Bones, intestines and body fat are all used in different industries to derive maximum value out of it. Even the hooves and horns are used for marketing purposes.
The logic behind the development of the meat sector is very simple. The cost of production continues to remain low for meat exporters and producers in India. As a matter of fact, the cost of production of animals, up to 2 years of age is competitively low. The leanness of Indian meat is another key factor for rising demand in the international market. Global taste gives preference to low-fat meat. The propensity of cattle owners to feed green items instead of bones and flesh as ration also contributes to high-quality meat. Our price structure is highly competitive due to the low cost of development and production of meat. Besides, the absence of hormones, chemicals, or other foreign substances makes the meat organic and clean. Indian climate is also highly conducive to the health of livestock. There is a great balance of rainfall, humidity and temperature. To date, there also has been no case of Bovine Spongiform Encephalitis in Indian meat making it reliable and worth trading.
In the year 2018, the total meat production in India was estimated at approximately 7.45 million tons. If you consider the development in the last 5 decades, we have come a long way from producing a respectable 1.97 million tons in 1969 to 7.45 million tons in 2018. The Indian meat industry proved its resilience even in the wake of Covid-19. Covid-19 has forced the industry to shut shop from March. However, demand started picking up by August. In August, the export sale showed a growth of 15% on a year-to-year basis. The export is expected to reach Pre-COVID Level by the end of the third quarter. Demand from traditional countries like Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia is expected to continue as before.
Though meat production and exports are a source of livelihood for many in the country, there is also some flip side to it. Meat production is detrimental to the ecosystem of the planet. Researchers have conclusively proved that higher consumption and production of meat is one of the main factors behind the rising level of greenhouse gas emissions. Besides, the increasing livestock capacity also leads to water scarcity and exploitative land use. Supporters of a greener earth and the environment are advocating for the greater promotion of a plant-based diet. However, practically it is not possible to make the switch in a short period of time. Ideally, the population must strike a balance between a plant-based and meat-based diet. In a balanced diet model, sustainability won’t be a big worry.
The high demand and consumption of meat have encouraged many new meat exporters and producers in India to take up the trade. However, most of the early enthusiasm is dampened by loads of paperwork and the presence of a large no. of middlemen and intermediaries. New exporters might quote a fair rate; however, the buyer does not receive the full value from the supplier/exporter end because of the middlemen. There are trade enabling platforms to support new traders, but they fall short of expectations. Identifying the opportunity to bridge the gap between buyers and sellers, TRADOLOGIE developed a revolutionary platform. It is a next-generation B2B trade enabler platform for connecting buyers and sellers directly. Its innovative concept of reverse bidding makes the transaction process transparent and risk-free. Buyers receive a superior value offered by sellers. Sellers on the other hand receive not only lead but also trade.