Buffalo meat exports have overtaken those of basmati rice for the first time. Both fall in the category of agriculture/processed exports, with the latter dominating the scene for the last several years.
According to Commerce Ministry data, India exported buffalo meat worth $3.22 billion in the April to November period of the ongoing financial year [2014/15], up over 16 per cent from corresponding period of last year (2013/14).
In the same period, the figure for basmati rice remained unchanged at $2.96 billion. Basmati rice exports in 2013/14 was $4.87 billion as compared to buffalo meat's $4.35 billion.
Buffalo meat exports saw a phenomenal growth of 31 per cent in quantity and 36 per cent in value last year (2014).
Among the top export destinations were Vietnam, Malaysia, Egypt, Thailand and Saudi Arabia.
Russia has recently opened up its market for Indian buffalo meat and four plants have been certified by Russian authorities.
It is interesting to note that all this has happened within the first year of Prime Minister Narendra Modi tenure.
As BJP's Prime Ministerial candidate prior to the elections last year, Modi, in his election campaigns, had attacked the then Congress-led UPA government for promoting a 'Pink Revolution' by encouraging meat exports.
Naturally, there was a fear among meat processors that exports will take a hit if the BJP-led NDA coalition came to power. This, however, has not happened. The government has made no hostile move towards this sector and exports continue to boom.
The country has successfully built an enviable reputation of being a reliable and competitive exporter of buffalo meat. So far, there has been no incidence of livestock-related diseases such as foot and mouth disease from any of the importing nations.