Buffalo meat exports to Russia to start in 6-8 weeks

India’s buffalo meat export to Russia is likely to start in 6-8 weeks, said Santosh Sarangi, Chairman, Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority.

“Exports will be allowed only after clearance of consignments by the Russian inspector. While the inspection has already started, it will take at least 6-8 weeks to get first consignment cleared,” Sarangi said and clarified, “The timeline can change also. But, exports will be possible only after the inspector certifies the consignment which was a part of our original agreement.”

Three months after formal approval to import buffalo meat, Russia’s veterinary and phytosanitary service Rosselkhoznadzor has appointed an inspector for India. The primary assignment of the inspector is to visit buffalo meat processing plants, packing houses and other units involved in exports and approve the consignment.

Without divulging the name of the inspector, Rosselkhoznadzor, said “According to the previously agreements on control of buffalo meat intended for export to Russia for its compliance with the EurAsian Economic Union and Russian Federation veterinary and sanitary requirements the Rosselkhoznadzor sends its expert to the Republic of India.”

The Russian expert will control buffalo meat production and dispatching from the Republic of India as well as become acquainted with the raw material suppliers of the Indian establishments that are going to export their products to Russia, it added.

Meat exports ($ million)
Particulars 2012-13 2013-14 Variations (%)
Buffalo 3201.86 4350.38 35.87
Sheep/goat 78.2 115.36 47.52
Other 0.44 0.52 18.18
Processed 1.72 1.15 (-)33.14
Animal casing 3.38 4.73 39.94
Poultry products 91.24 92.83 1.74

Ahead of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit in the first week of December 2014, Russian authority allowed import of buffalo meat from India with immediate effect. But, there was no progress thereafter to speed up execution of export consignments from India. The appointment of the inspector is expected to expedite the quality check process and kick-start exports. 

On December 4, 2014, Russia’s Rosselkhoznadzor and Kazakhstan’s Agriculture Ministry included Indian buffalo meat producers to the register of organisations and individuals involved in the production, processing and storage of goods transported to the territory of the Customs Union (of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan).

Russia opened up its market for Indian buffalo meat after a long ban. Until recently, Russia was among a number of countries which had banned import of meat and poultry products from India, due to an earlier occurrence of foot and mouth disease. Strict quality norms and lack of government initiatives restricted India’s entry into the Russian meat and poultry market.

“India replaced Vietnam to emerge the world’s largest supplier of buffalo meat in global markets last year. For several years, our buffalo meat exports have been rising by 25-40 per cent annually. This year we would surpass $ 6 billion,” said Ajai Sahai, director-general of the Federation of Indian Export Organisations. India’s export of buffalo meat was $ 4.35 bn in 2013-14, a rise of 36 per cent from $ 3.2 bn in 2012-13.

India exported only $ 195 million of agri products to Russia in 2013-14. And, despite supplying 60 per cent of the world’s buffalo meat, India was absent from the Russian market. India exports around $ 4,500 mn worth of meat and poultry products annually, of which buffalo meat is 95 per cent.

Total exports of buffalo metal from India stood at 1.45 million tonnes worth 26,457.79 crore in the financial year 2013-14 largely to Vietnam Social Republic, Malaysia, Egypt Arab Republic, Thailand, Saudi Arabia and Jordan.