Report Highlights: 

India’s CY 2014 carabeef (buffalo meat) exports are forecast to grow by more than six percent to 1.65 million tons carcass weight equivalent (cwe) on expectations of increased export demand from major importing countries. In response to strong export demand, CY 2014 carabeef production is projected to increase to by five percent to 3.9 million tons (CWE).


In (calendar year) CY 2014, the cattle and buffalo population in India is forecast to rise less than one percent to 329.7 million head on growing demand for dairy products. For CY 2014, carabeef production is projected to increase by five percent to 3.9 million tons carcass weight equivalent (CWE) on expectations of continued strong export demand. CY 2013 buffalo meat production climbed by more than eight percent to 3.7 million tons primarily on high export sales to the Middle East, Africa and Southeast Asia (for more details on rising export demand for carabeef products, please refer to the Trade section of this report). 

Indians who have higher income levels obtain protein from dairy-based sources, particularly those that follow a vegetarian based diet. This growing demand has pushed up dairy prices and spurred the development of more commercial farms. Private sector investment has led to considerable improvements in dairy management in some states, including extension services, veterinary care, and improved genetics through artificial insemination. 

India is a leading supplier of carabeef export markets due to price competiveness. According to India’s most recent Livestock Census (2007), buffalo constitutes approximately one-third of India’s total bovine population. Many Indian livestock farmers prefer buffalo production over other livestock such as cows because of premium pricing for buffalo milk, due to its higher fat content, and a larger export market for carabeef products derived from bulls, bull calves, and unproductive buffalo cows (i.e., low milk yields or can no longer settle). Slaughter facilities have risen in tandem with growing export demand. Losses are decreasing as more unproductive buffalo cows are sent to slaughter. 

Indian laws governing buffalo cattle slaughter vary greatly from state to state. While some states completely ban cattle slaughter, others allow buffalo meat production if a ‘fit for slaughter’ certificate is issued, which depends on factors such as age and cattle gender. Kerala, West Bengal, and some north-eastern states do not have any restrictions. The buffalo meat industry also produces byproducts that are used in other sectors such as the leather industry, pharmaceuticals, pet food, poultry feed, and special lubricants. 

Production Policy

Dairy Sector: The National Dairy Development Board (NDDB), in partnership with the Government of India and the World Bank, has developed a National Dairy Plan (NDP) to increase dairy productivity (such as access to high quality semen) and create linkages between rural milk producers and the commercial milk-processing sector. The first phase of the plan will spend $416 million (more than 20 billion rupees) and focus on 14 major milk producing states which are Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Gujarat, Haryana, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Punjab, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal. In India, these states account for over 90 percent of total milk production, 87 percent of the total buffalo population, and 98 percent of total fodder production. 

Three different entities implement the NDP: (a) The National Steering Committee provides policy and strategic support; (b) The Project Steering Committee approves plans and monitors progress; and (c) The Project Management Unit manages project implementation. 

In 2012, the first phase of the NDP began with a set of initiatives that would be implemented over the next six years. These initiatives include: 

a. Increasing productivity through scientific breeding and nutrition 

b. Strengthening village-based milk procurement systems 

c. Project Management and learning 

Livestock Sector: In the 12th Five Year Plan (2012-2017), GOI has restructured its approach to livestock sector development. One major 2013-14 initiative is the National Livestock Mission (NLM), which will receive $470 million over the course of 12th Five Year Plan. NLM will focus on the livestock management of small ruminants (mainly goats, swine, and poultry) and the development of high quality feed and fodder, which can be fed to all livestock industries. 

During the 11th Five Year Plan (2007-12), the GOI also launched “The Salvaging and Rearing of Male Buffalo Calves Scheme (SRMBC)” and “The Utilization of Fallen Animals (UFA)” to increase meat production by 10 percent by CY 2012, as well as generate rural employment. The SRMBC scheme, implemented by the National Bank for Agricultural and Rural Development (NABARD), concentrated on teaching buffalo production to rural farmers and developing linkages with export-oriented slaughterhouses in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Orissa, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, and West Bengal. The UFA addressed high livestock mortality rates by establishing carcass utilization centers to prevent environmental pollution and livestock diseases. Both SRMBC and UFA have been retained by the government in the 12th Five Year Plan. 

From 2000-10, the GOI implemented a major program entitled “National Project for Cattle and Buffalo Breeding” (NPCBB) to improve local genetics. In order to complete spillover activities from this project, the NPCBB was allowed to continue activities under a new scheme called the “National Project on Bovine Breeding and Dairy.” This new scheme will be implemented until 2014, and would supplement NDP activities. The goals include: 

a. Improve cattle genetics by servicing 80% of adult females through an organized genetics management program (could utilize artificial insemination (AI) or natural insemination). 

b. More privately self-employed AI practitioners. 

c. Replace 20 million low producing nondescript cattle and buffaloes with genetically superior animals. 

d. Increase rural self-employment opportunities and farm income. 

e. Develop a modern AI network and AI delivery services that are easily accessible by farmers. 

f. Establish an authority that can certify the authenticity of semen, semen stations, and AI bulls. 

g. Conservation and genetic development of several indigenous cattle and buffalo breeds. 

In the State of Kerala, which has experienced a drastic decline in the livestock population, frozen semen technology was introduced for the first time by the Kerala Livestock Development Board (KLDB) in 1965. KLDB has grown to be the largest frozen semen producer. The embryo transfer technology introduced in KLDB is another step towards livestock development. Of the total adult female cattle population in the State of Kerala, 83.4 percent is cross bred and this was made possible through the Indo-Swiss Project. KLDB has achieved a positive genetic trend through well planned breeding program. The Government of India (GOI) continues to encourage the use of genetics services to raise dairy production yields. 

Veterinary Services Sector: New cross-breeds are susceptible to diseases to which native breeds are resistant. In order to reduce morbidity and mortality of cross-breeds, the GOI has tried to improve health care through polyclinics, veterinary hospitals, and dispensaries including mobile veterinary dispensaries. The Ministry of Agriculture’s Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries (DAHD) is implementing a nationwide program entitled “Livestock Health and Disease Control” to improve the quality of these services. Some major goals include: (a) distributing funding to establish and better equip existing veterinary hospitals ; (b) controlling and/or mitigating the spread of animal diseases by providing assistance to state governments in immunization; (c) strengthening existing State Veterinary Biological Production Units and Disease Diagnostic laboratories; and (d) providing in-service training to veterinarians and veterinary technicians. A series of more specific programs will also be implemented under the Livestock Health and Disease Control program, which include: 

a. National Control Program of Brucellosis: The program vaccinates all female calves between 6-8 months in high disease areas. 

b. National Project on Rinderpest Eradication: The objective of this scheme is to strengthen the veterinary services and to eradicate Rinderpest and Contagious Bovine Pleuro-pneumonia (CBPP) using Office international des Epizooties (OIE), Paris guidelines. India is provisionally free from CBPP since October 2003. 

c. Foot & Mouth Disease Control Program: The program provides the vaccine free of charge to farmers 

d. The National Control Program of Peste des Petits Ruminants: The program strives to control Peste des Petits in all susceptible goats and sheep and three subsequent generations through vaccinations. The disease is expected to be fully controlled by the end of the 12th Five-year plan. 

e. The National Animal Disease Reporting System: The system records and monitors the Indian livestock disease situation, and communicates information on any outbreak. 

f. Professional Efficiency Development: The scheme regulates veterinary practice and maintains a register of veterinary practitioners according to the provisions of the Indian Veterinary Council Act, 1984 (IVC Act). Currently, all states and Union Territories, except Jammu and Kashmir, are implementing this scheme. 

g. The Foot and Mouth Disease Control Program: Since August 2010, the program has vaccinated about 110 million cattle and buffalo at six monthly intervals. This program has covered all the districts in the States/Union Territories of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Goa, Gujarat, Punjab, Haryana, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Daman and Diu, Delhi, Lakshadweep, Puducherry and 16 districts in Uttar Pradesh. 


CY 2013 and CY 2014 buffalo meat consumption are forecast at 2.2 and 2.3 million tons CWE on growing population, rising income levels, and a wider taste for protein-rich diets. Buffalo meat is generally less expensive than other animal protein options (the average buffalo meat (bone-in) price is two dollars per kilogram in comparison to goat meat (bone-in), which is six dollars per kilogram).


Slaughter and meat processing are regulated by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) through The Food Safety and Standards Rules and Regulation, 2011 (FSSR). On August 5, 2011, FSSR replaced the Meat and Meat Products Order, 1973. The FSSR contains standards and regulations for meat and meat products and requires registration and licensing of meat processors and other food operators in the meat product value chain. 

During the 11th Five Year Plan comprehensive financial scheme, the Ministry of Food Processing Industries (MOFPI) launched the program entitled, “Modernization of existing abattoirs/establishment of modern abattoirs,” which will continue under the 12th Five Year Plan. Effective April 1, 2014, the program will establish 25 new abattoirs and modernize 25 existing abattoirs. The objectives of the scheme are to: 

a. Provide scientific and hygienic animal slaughtering 

b. Apply modern slaughter technology, as well as waste management and pollution controls 

c. Ensure humane animal treatment, which includes minimizing animal transportation 

d. Create better by-products and increase the development of value added products 

e. Prevent microbial activity through improved refrigeration and cold chain management 

f. Assist in creating market linkages between slaughter houses and downstream buyers 

Under the National Mission on Food Processing, MOFPI is also administering another scheme to modernize processing plants by upgrading their current technologies, reducing waste, and developing more value-added products. 

There are 44 approved Indian abattoirs-cum-meat processing plants serving the export market (for more details, please refer to List of Indian Integrated Abattoirs & Meat Processing Plants Approved by Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA). Modern Abattoirs not only process meat, but also buffalo hides and skins that are critical inputs for the emerging leather industry. Rendered products are also supplied to commercial poultry feed producers. 

FSSR enforces hygiene and controls at all stages of meat product (including fish and poultry) processing. These standards apply to both domestic and imported meat products. 

Export and Domestic Supply Chains: 

Buffalo meat production can be classified into two major supply chains: (a) large scale production for the export market and (b) municipal slaughter house system for domestic consumption. Backyard slaughtering also exists in more remote areas. Domestic and export oriented supply chains are completely separate processes. 


CY 2013 and CY 2014 carabeef exports are forecast at 1.55 and 1.65 million tons CWE on expectations of increased import demand from the Middle East, Africa and Southeast Asia. Vietnam and Malaysia are the largest markets. Besides price considerations, many of these markets prefer Indian meat because it is halal. Carabeef imports to India are heavily restricted from all sources.

According to the current Export and Import Policy of the Government of India, each export consignment is subject to compulsory laboratory testing. If passed, the product receives a pre- shipment health inspection certificate (one certificate is issued per consignment). The health certificate states that the buffalo meat has been prepared from healthy, disease-free livestock, which are free from contagious and infectious diseases, including foot-and-mouth disease and other diseases. It also confirms that the livestock have been subject to ante-mortem and post-mortem inspection, and that the meat is fit for human consumption. 

The Government of India has given the following agencies authority to issue health certificates. 

1. All State Directorates of Animal Husbandry 

2. Export Inspection Agencies (EIAs) 

3. Directorate of Marketing and Inspection (DMI) 

4. Deonar abattoir, Mumbai (for chilled sheep and goat meat only) 

5. Ghazipur abattoir, Delhi (for buffalo, sheep and goats) 

6. Perumbur abattoir, Chennai (for buffalo, sheep and goats) 


The GOI has established procedures for the importation of livestock and related products to India through the Livestock Importation Act, 1898. These procedures are implemented by the Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries (DAHD). 

DAHD is also responsible for outlining import procedures and sanitary conditions for various livestock products, and issues guidelines for the import/export of animal germplasm