The Indian government’s subsidies to slaughterhouses may have increased under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government, but Indian buffalo meat exports are dwindling because of curbs imposed by China.
India’s buffalo meat exports are set to plunge to their lowest in six years in 2019, as Chinese curbs on Indian meat imports remain in place.
China imposed curbs on Indian buffalo due to foot and mouth disease in the Indian livestock. Subsequently, buffalo meat exports plunged by 8.5% to 1.23 million metric tonne in 2018-19, down from 1.35 million metric tonne in 2017-18.
This is a steep decline from the peak of 1.47 million metric tonne in 2014-15, according to details submitted by Indian commerce minister Piyush Goyal to parliament on Wednesday.
The development is significant as the Indian government provided a subsidy of $17.20 million to modernise the abattoirs in the five years to 2019, according to data revealed by Right to Information.
This represents a 34 percent increase on the $12.8 million subsidy provided by the Congress-led government between 2009 and 2014.
According to commerce ministry data, India exported only 0.66 million metric tonne of meat worth $1.9 billion in the year to October, leaving 2019 on course to be the worst ever year for buffalo meat exports.
Prime Minister Modi used slaughterhouses as a major electoral issue against Congress in 2014.
Modi spoke at length against the ‘Pink Revolution’ blaming his predecessors who had allowed livestock be butchered. Modi referred to the practice of butchering animals as the pink revolution.
When the Bharatiya Janata Party won the state elections of Uttar Pradesh, curbs were imposed on illegal abattoirs. After Uttar Pradesh state chief Yogi Adityanath took over the reins of the state, lynchings in the name of cow vigilantism spread sporadically. In India, there are 72 authorised abattoirs, 38 of which are in Uttar Pradesh.