India has huge livestock population, in terms of trade it stands insignificant in the world trade of livestock products. However, it is to be noted that India has tremendous potential to produce and export various livestock products. The high potential of the domestic market coupled with marketing opportunities abroad due to the GATT provisions now render India to an enviable position to cater to the huge global market of livestock products, particularly dairy products. Earlier, the past trends in milk production and domestic consumption had indicated a possible exportable surplus of a modest level of 1,00,000 MTs of dairy products by the turn of the century.
There is no denying the fact that the adoption of several liberal policy measures by the Government in more recent times and the application of scientific production techniques have boosted India’s livestock production. However, the point that merits consideration is how did the structure of livestock production and exports of India changed over time and what future prospects India holds in the export trade of livestock products in the light of the rapidly changing world market conditions and in view of the various trade policy measures adopted by the various developed and developing nations.
Meat Production: India has also been showing a continuous increase in its total meat production. This is mainly because of considerable rise in non-vegetarian population over time. In India, various species of livestock such as cattle buffalo, sheep and goats, pigs and poultry birds are used for meat production.
As for the export trade of livestock products, there are also many issues that require fuller attention and discussion. For instance, is our livestock sector protected, what is its comparative advantage, what is its export potential, what are the tariff and non-tariff barriers to livestock exports, what should be the strategy for promoting export of live animals, livestock products, and livestock based manufacture.
There has been considerable increase in livestock exports of India after the late eighties, chiefly because of liberalization of trade and several trade policy changes coupled with surge in international prices of many livestock based products that gave real boost to Indian livestock exports. The upswing in livestock exports of India in due course of time has also filtered into significant increase in her share not only in Asia but also in World export trade. At the same time, for some of the livestock based commodities and for live animals, the share of India in Asia as well as in the World export trade has come down over time, e.g., bovine, sheep and goats among various live animals, and poultry meat, meat dried, salted and smoked and also canned meat among various meat and meat products.
Nevertheless, share of India in fresh, chilled and frozen meat export is noticed to have grown considerably not only in Asia but in the World too. Among various fresh, chilled and frozen meat, India’s export has grown more sharply in the case of fresh sheep meat, both in Asia and in the World trade of the same. This holds true both in quantity and value terms. Among various milk and milk products, dry milk, butter and ghee and to some extent condensed and evaporated milk export trade of India have grown significantly, both in Asia and in the World. In fact, the results of this study clearly indicate a marginal presence of India in World trade of majority of the livestock products. It is only in the case of bovine meat and also sheep and goat meat that India has shown a considerable share in the global trade of the same, particularly in quantity terms. In fact, India continues to remain as one of the leading bovine meat exporter not only in Asia but also in the World.