Beef ban: Mutton, buffalo meat prices may rise in Delhi, Haryana

The ban on transportation and sale of beef in Maharashtra and Haryana is threatening to push up prices of mutton and buffalo meat in these two states. The move has also left exporters in Kolkata worried.

In the last one month, beef exports from West Bengal have dropped by 10-15%. West Bengal, among the few states that allow slaughter of cows, buffaloes, bulls and bullocks, caters to the demand from Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia. Each month, it exports around 200,000-300,000 tonne of beef to these countries. 

“Our export orders have shrunk as buyers feel that due to the ban, we will not be able to meet the commitments in time. That apart, many exporters feel that instead of beef, we will send buffalo meet, which is different,” Akash Arora, Managing Director of Alvira Enterprise, a city-based exporter told Business Standard. 

Within the country, Kolkata caters to beef demand from Delhi, Mumbai and Fatehpur in Uttar Pradesh, where slaughter of cows, bulls and bullocks is banned. (see chart)

In February, long before the ban was officially imposed, beef sales to Mumbai from Kolkata had gone up by nearly 7%, while that to other cities had gone up by 2-3%, in anticipation, traders said. West Bengal’s own daily beef consumption is close to 1.5 lakh kilos. 

In Delhi and its adjoining areas, mutton prices are threatening to touch Rs 700 per kilogram by June from existing Rs 550-600 per kilogram as supplies dry up. Price of buffalo meat, which is considered to be a cheap but readily available alternative for beef, has also moved up in the last few weeks. 

Buffalo meat rates in Maharashtra has risen by around Rs 20-30 per kg in the last few days and was selling at around Rs 180-190 per kg in Mumbai and also in others parts of Maharashtra. 

In Haryana, which has also banned slaughtering of cows and sale of beef of all kinds from Monday, the price of buffalo meat has risen by around Rs 20-30 per kg and was selling at around Rs 140-150 per kg.  

In Uttar Pradesh, though, there has been little impact on the buffalo meat prices as supplies are adequate. Slaughter of cow is banned in the state.

“In Haryana and Maharashtra, buffalo meat prices have moved up as demand has shifted to buffalo, but that is not the case in Uttar Pradesh as supplies here are adequate,” said Liyaqat Ali, a leading supplier from Meerut. 

Haji Tanveer, who supplies cattle to slaughter houses in Saharanpur and adjoining districts, also said the retail prices of buffalo meat has been hovering around Rs 150-155 per kg in western UP, without much change.

“In Uttar Pradesh, buffalo meat prices are still within control as the state has a large cattle population, but if supplies of other beef varieties dry up in neighbouring states, the impact would be felt in UP as well,” Liyaqat said. He said buffalo meat prices might show a stabilising trend only around June, when supplies are expected to improve as farmers sell their livestock.

Uttar Pradesh is India’s largest exporter of buffalo meat and of the total Indian cara beef exports, 67% originates from the state. 

From 2007-08 to 2011-12, the estimated number of buffaloes slaughtered in UP rose by almost 161% to 32.42 million, as the state is home to almost 25% of India’s total buffalo population.

India competes with Australia in Philippines and with Malaysia and Brazil in Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Algeria. Buffalo meat exports have been growing at 15% per annum in the last decade and was pegged $ 3.2 bn in 2012-13. 

Rules and Regulations Related to Cow and Buffalo Slaughter in Major Indian States

States/Union Territories Rules On Cow, Buffalo Slaughter
Delhi Cow slaughter is banned, so also is slaughter of calves, bulls, bullocks. Buffalo is allowed
Uttar Pradesh Cow slaughter is banned, so also that of bull or bullock. Buffalo is allowed
Rajasthan Slaughter of cows, calf, heifer, bull or bullock is banned.
Jharkhand Cow slaughter is permitted
Tamil Nadu Slaughter of cows and heifers is banned
Karnataka Slaughter of cows, calf and she buffalo is banned. Need certificate for slaughter of male buffaloes
Odisha Cow slaughter is banned. But allows slaughter of bull, bullocks on production of certificate
Gujarat Total ban on slaughter of cow, calf irrespective of its gender and bull and bullock. The blanket ban on slaughter of bull and bullocks has not been upheld by the Gujarat High Court
Madhya Pradesh Total ban on cow slaughter
Andhra Pradesh Slaughter of cows or calves and she buffalo prohibited. Slaughter of milk bearing or buffaloes below 8 years is prohibited.
Kerala No state legislation on ban on cow slaughter
Assam Prohibits slaughter of cattle
Punjab Complete ban on cow slaughter
Himachal Pradesh Complete ban on cow slaughter
Maharashtra Buffalo above the age of 12-13 years can be slaughtered
Jammu & Kashmir Cow slaughter is banned. 
West Bengal Allows slaughter of bulls, bullocks, cows and buffaloes, but with strict conditions.
Goa Does not allow slaughter of cattle without certificate and also of female cattle
Source: FICCI Report On ‘Overview of The Indian Buffalo Meat Value Chain’