DAIRY production and export demand continue to drive India’s emergence as one of the world’s largest beef exporters.
As market access dynamics change, the question becomes, how much of a competitor is India to Australia?
As will be outlined at Beef 2018 at Meat and Livestock Australia’s Global Markets Forum on May 9, Indian beef production is largely driven by the expanding dairy industry, where significant private investment and government support has occurred in recent years.
Most of the focus has been on improved dairy herd management, veterinary care, genetics and nutrition.
As a direct result of the massive expansion of the milk industry, beef production from the older unproductive females and young male calves has also increased markedly.
When it comes to export demand, the major constraint for India is the prevalence of foot and mouth disease. In 2015, Russia banned imports from India after its inspectors found FMD virus in an imported lot.
Similarly, three years after India and China signed a memorandum of understanding regarding beef exports to China, no further arrangement has been made.
Most concerning for Australia is that Indian product is now officially allowed into Indonesia. Previously, India’s major markets had been Vietnam, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, the Philippines, Thailand and Egypt.
“India’s beef presence is anticipated to continue expanding over the years ahead,” Mr Finucan said.
“However, there is a growing middle class and Australia has a strong reputation in the market for supplying safe and reliable product.
“Building on this will be critical to position Australia against cheaper commodity imports.”
India returned as the global leader in beef (and buffalo meat) exports in 2016. Australia was the largest beef exporter in 2015, during a year of near record production.
However, shipments declined following the departure from drought and early signs of a herd rebuild.
While Australian exports had been constrained by supply, US beef exports increased on the back of continued quickly growing production.
Brazil expanded exports following regained market access to both China and Saudi Arabia.