December 13, 2011
India's beef and veal exports are forecast to grow 16% in 2012 at 1.275 million tonnes, considering numerous years of rapid growth, according to USDA.
This would see India placed third on a list of the world's largest beef exporters for 2012, behind Australia and Brazil, and just ahead of the US.
According to the USDA, India's cattle herd in 2012 is expected to reach a massive 324.3 million head â€“ a long way ahead of the next largest nation, Brazil (197.3 million head). India's massive cattle herd is primarily due to the sacred role that cattle have in the Hindu religion. Indeed, much of the production of beef in India is from the large buffalo herd (carabeef), which provides a very lean source of protein.
Despite having over 300 million head of cattle, India's beef production in 2012 is forecast to only reach 3.265 million tonnes. This compares to Australia's forecast of 2.18 million tonnes with 28.8 million head.
In global markets, Indian beef is comparatively very cheap, and predominantly shipped to South East Asia, the Middle East and North Africa. The growth in demand from these markets in recent years has helped to fuel the rise in shipments, with exports between 2007 and 2011 rising 62%.