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USDA GAIN: Livestock and Products


07 March 2013

USDA GAIN: India Livestock and Products Semi-annual 2013USDA GAIN: India Livestock and Products Semi-annual 2013

India is on track to tie or possibly overtake Brazil as the world’s largest exporter of beef in 2012. January – November 2012 export growth, however, was not as great as expected, and as result, the 2012 export forecast has been decreased from 1.66 to 1.45 million tons, a 14 percent increase over 2011. 2013 carabeef (buffalo meat) exports are projected to grow by 15 percent.

USDA GAIN: Livestock and Products

Animal Numbers, Cattle
Meat, Beef and Veal

Production:

India’s Livestock Census does not report statistics past 2007, leaving little indication of how India’s cattle population is changing. Historically, Indian dairy production increased as the cattle population grew. Today Indian officials claim that the cattle population is expected to decrease over the long term as milk production becomes more efficient. Buffalo populations are also expected to decline over the long term, assuming increased emphasis on imported Bos taurus genetics to improve milk yields and the declining importance of draft animals. Throughout 2012, milk production continued to grow, although productivity gains can be attributed to the increased use of high quality feeds and imported genetics, in addition to cattle population increases. Despite these factors, there is no evidence that the cattle population has changed in the short term. Carabeef (buffalo meat) processors continue to expand to record levels, but given the massive size of India’s calf crop, this appears sustainable. As a result, 2012 and 2013 beginning stocks reflect a 1 percent increase over the previous year. 2013 ending inventories are flat.

Slaughter rates and meat production for 2012 have been revised to reflect lower than expected exports in 2012. 2013 slaughter and production is revised to support 15 percent expected export growth and stable domestic consumption (See Trade and Consumption sections). There are no official statistics on losses. While the colossal growth of the carabeef export industry has clearly reduced losses of buffalo bull calves, losses will continue to occur within dairies specializing in Bos taurus and Bos indicus cattle.

Consumption:

Due to taboos against the slaughter and consumption of cattle, beef consumption is banned in India, with the notable exceptions of the states of Kerala and West Bengal, as well as a few northeastern states. Given the similarity between buffalo and cattle, most red meat eating Indians prefer ovine or caprine meat over buffalo. Chicken is India’s preferred non-vegetarian protein source, with local production increasing by an estimated 10 percent annually. Given Indian meat preferences, domestic consumption is not expected to exceed the rate of population growth. 2012 consumption is estimated to have increased marginally, by 1.7 percent to 2.01 million metric tons. 2013 consumption is forecast at 2.05 million metric tons, a 1.9 percent increase.

Trade:

Current trade data (January – November 2012), shows Indian carabeef exports surpassing calendar year exports by 3 percent. Industry contacts report that exports to Southeast Asia picked up in the last months of 2012, and peaked in January 2013. Trade data confirms this, showing that exports to the region, led by Vietnam and Thailand, increased pace in the second half of 2012. Contacts indicate that these shipments were made in advance of the Chinese New Year celebrations, which took place in early February, 2013. Trade contacts also reported that while exports to Egypt have remained flat due to political uncertainty, Iranian imports have offset this. Iranian carabeef imports grew by 50 percent in 2011 and increased by 58 percent during January-November 2012.

Given the continued strong growth of Indian carabeef exports, India is on track to tie or possibly overtake Brazil as the world’s largest exporter of beef in 2012. January – November 2012 export growth, however, was not as great as expected, and as result, the 2012 export forecast has been decreased from 1.66 to 1.45 million tons, a 14 percent increase over 2011. 2013 exports are projected to grow by 15 percent. 2011 exports are revised slightly down to reflect updated trade statistics. India does not import bovine meat.

March 2013

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