Meat is essentially animal flesh. Its consumption has grown steadily over the last few decades. Higher disposable income, exposure to new cultures and paid urbanization are some of the factors contributing to increased meat consumption. As per recent data, on an average meat consumption has grown by 20 Kg since 1961. India, Brazil and Australia are consistently ranked among the top exporters of meat. There is a large gap between production and consumption in these countries. India also has a very large no. of livestock production. The country exports mainly to Middle-east countries like Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar, etc. Malaysia and Indonesia also account for a fair share of the export revenue. India also remains the largest exporter of buffalo meat to the world.
India has exported buffalo meat worth $3 billion in fiscal year 2020. This is a tad lower than the previous year, but still the highest in the world. Among the Indian states, Uttar Pradesh maintains the leadership position in production and export of buffalo meat followed by Punjab and Maharashtra. Production is a sophisticated process involving a step by step procedure. In the first step, cattle or livestock are sold in the open market. The sale may take place weekly, monthly, semi-annually or annually. From there, it is brought to local shops or licensed abattoirs for slaughter. Slaughtering is done by expert butchers or in abattoirs for export oriented processes. Required flesh is extracted from the animal after the slaughter. It is further transferred from the refrigerator to the port destination. Bones, hooves and horns are separated to be elsewhere.
India could develop as a leading exporter only because of the large no. of livestock. The meat from India is also leaner compared to the other ones in the international market. Leanness and freshness of meat makes it an ideal choice among the importers. Global taste also gives preferences to low fat flesh. Leanness of quality of flesh can be attributed to the fact that the bulk of the diets for Indian livestock is vegetarian. Besides, the absence of hormones, chemicals and foreign substances in the diet makes the flesh organic and clean.
Total meat production in India was estimated at approximately 7.45 million tons. India has grown rapidly in the production for the last 5 decades. The production of meat in the year 1969 was 1.97 million. The growth has been indeed magical. Thanks to the production and export capacity, Industry proved its resilience even during the Covid-19 times. The pandemic has forced the shop to be shut down from March. Things started picking up from August. In August of this year, export sales showed a growth of 15% on a year to year basis. Identifying the trends, many exporters and suppliers have popped up in the country. Care should be taken by meat buyers to choose only the genuine one.
Despite many advantages of the meat industry, there is also a flip side to it. Rising consumption of flesh will add extra load on already stressed natural resources of mother earth. Environmentalists and nature lovers have been strongly advocating for a vegetarian diet. Research has clearly proved that higher consumption and production of meat is one of the main reasons for greenhouse gas emissions. Switching completely to a plant based diet is not practically possible within a short period of time. However, over time, constant effort should be made to reduce the percentage of animal flesh consumption. That is the only way to ensure a sustainable living and preserve the future of mother earth.
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