INTERVIEW – China, Russia market access can change fortune of Indian meat exports

By Ritwik Sinha

India can further consolidate its position globally if the country’s meat exporters get direct access to market in China and Russia, the head of a top meat exporting firm has said.

The group has a meat exporting subsidiary, which is one of the leading players in its space clocking around Rs 600 crore in revenue in the last fiscal.

“We are mostly exporting to countries in the Gulf region. But lack of access to the major markets and also not so conducive environment for our operations domestically has brought the industry to a saturation point. Access to China and Russia could provide a major boost at this stage,” O.P. Arora, chairman of AOV Group, told in an interview.

The group has a meat exporting subsidiary which is one of the leading players clocking around Rs 600 crore in the last fiscal year.

China is the biggest meat importing country in the world, accounting for nearly 8 percent (amounting over $10 billion) of total global meat imports.  Indian meat (largely buffalo meat) exports is finding ways to China through other countries, but direct access can significantly raise volumes, said Arora while strongly urging the government to pursue the case as bilateral trade is rising consistently.

China, in recent times, has shown leniency in allowing market access to Indian products. It had given green signal to the selective import of Basmati rice from India last year.

“The Ministry of Commerce in the recent past has successfully negotiated with Indonesia, a big meat importing market. Similar effort is now required with China and Russia,” Arora emphasized.

Since 2014 Russia, under the supervision of its safety watchdog Rosselkhoznadzor, has pursued a stringent meat import policy that includes complete or periodic ban on specific items from countries in the European Union, Brazil and also Asia .

This has obviously not worked for the Indian meat export industry even as the  Ministry of Agriculture has been negotiating with its Russian counterpart for  market access.

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