Meat Industry In India: Challenges And Advantages

Meat production Industry is a vital part of Indian Agriculture, according to research meat production is estimated at 6.3 million tones standing 5th in rank of the world’s meat production. India is responsible for 3% of the total world meat production as it produces 220 million tones. India has the world’s highest population of livestock as it is approximately at about 515 million.

Out of which cattle population stands at around 200 million, while the poultry population is at 750 million. The meat production has registered a healthy growth; the livestock sector is an important source of lively hood for most of the farmers. Meat sector contributes to sustainable livestock production through sustainable demands at reasonable returns to the producers.

In India, beef and pork serve as valuable nutrition foods and are available at relatively lower prices. The per capita meat consumption in India per year is at 5.2kg. Almost 70% of the Indian population is non-vegetarian. While chicken and fish have the highest consumption rate. The consumption of poultry meat in India was discovered to be over 3.9 million metric tons in 2020.


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Indian meat market

India exports more than more than 7,000 metric tons of poultry meat to other countries. Livestock trading in India is regulated by the state governments. India has the lowest per capita meat consumption in the world with 5.6 kg in 2013 compared to the global average of 33.2 kg. The Indian meat market mostly focuses on fresh meat, frozen meat is mostly exported.

The volume of meat produced from 2016 to 2019 in India.
The volume of meat produced from 2016 to 2019 in India.

India has large resources of animal castings and other byproducts. The meat industry in India grew during the periods of 2006 - 2007 to 2012 - 2013, India is the second largest producer of buffalo meat in the world, Poultry meat has the largest sub sector with almost half share of total meat production in 2012-13 followed by beef/buffalo meat, goat meat, pork, sheep meat/lamb and cattle meat.

Uttar Pradesh (UP) is the largest meat producer followed by Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu. Sustained income and economic growth, a growing urban population, rapidly growing middle class, changing lifestyles, improvement in transportation and storage facilities and the rise of supermarkets especially in cities and towns are fueling rapid increases in consumption of animal food products in India.

Why India is the best for Poultry and food processing Industries

  • It is the fastest growing economy in the world.
  • It is the largest producer of agriculture commodities.
  • It has the second largest consumer market.
  • It has significant investments in world class ports, logistics & supply chain infrastructure.
  • Proactive government policies.
  • Investor friendly incentives.
  • Highly skilled manpower

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Advantages of meat and poultry production in India.

  • India has the world’s largest population of livestock.
  • India produces around 5.3 million MT of Meat and 75 billion eggs annually.
  • India is the largest producer of buffalo meat and 2nd largest producer of goat meat.
  • The current processing levels in poultry are 6%, while for meat it stands at 21%.
  • Poultry is a highly vertically integrated industry in India and matches.
  • The efficiency levels of many western countries.
  • Government of India has taken steps for modernization of municipal slaughter houses to provide safe and hygienic meat to consumers.
  • Export oriented units have invested significantly in the establishment of large slaughter houses - cum – meat processing plants with the latest technology.
  • Farm automation, slaughter houses, logistics and point of sale cold storage Infrastructure are an opportunity in India, given the changing preference of Indian consumers for clean, safe and hygienic meat products.

There are about 27 integrated modern meat processing plants approved after due inspection for export of meat and all Export Oriented Units (EOU) are registered with the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) of the Government of India.

An video about Licious an Indian startup for meat and seafood production in India.

Opportunity in Poultry and Meat Sector

The table below describes the growth in the technology and equipment suppliers and Poultry Industry Players.

Technology and Equipment Suppliers Poultry Industry Players
New technology in meat and poultry processing New products value added products, like frozen products, RTC/RTE, snacks
Cold Chain Egg powder plants
New veterinary technology/services New feed formulations and manufacturing
Food testing labs Hatcheries

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Challenges faced by the livestock sector in India

One of the major challenges is improving the productivity of farm animals, The average annual milk yield of Indian cattle is 1172 kg which is only about 50 per cent of the global average. The outbreaks of diseases like Foot and Mouth Diseases, Black Quarter infection; Influenza, etc. continue to affect Livestock health and lowers productivity. India’s huge population of herbivorous animals contributes to greenhouse gases emission.

Reducing greenhouse gases through mitigation and adaptation strategies will be a major challenge. Crossbreeding of indigenous species with exotic stocks to enhance the genetic potential of different species has been successful only to a limited extent. Meat production is largely unorganized, Traditional production systems and disorderly practices have flawed the image of the Indian meat industry.

A breakdown of meat production trend in India.
A breakdown of meat production trend in India.

The unregulated meat markets, tropical climate, inadequate slaughterhouse hygiene measures and the lack of surveillance of meat-borne diseases enhance the risk of meat-borne diseases and occupational hazards. Most consumers purchase meat from traditional meat shops, where butchers slaughter limited animals for sale of meat throughout the day.

According to research, there are about 8000 registered and more than 20,000 unregistered slaughterhouses in the country and most of them are devoid of basic amenities like light, ventilation; and the slaughtering and carcass-dressing processes are performed in open areas in highly unhygienic conditions following which the meat is sold with little or no veterinary inspection.

The growth of Meat Industry in India

While India has an abundant supply of meat, the meat processing industry is still emerging. Meat processing covers a spectrum of products from sub-sectors comprising animal husbandry and poultry farms, to bulk frozen meat, chilled and deli meat, packaged meat, and ready-to-eat processed meat products.

In the present scenario, there is a large scope for meat processing in poultry as well as in red meat. In fact, the poultry industry has made considerable progress by developing and marketing value-added products. The meat industry is slowly yet steadily catching pace on the global front also as India exports both frozen and fresh chilled meat to more than 60 countries of the world.

The major item of export includes de-boned frozen buffalo meat, which accounts for 97 per cent of the total meat export. The major market for Indian buffalo meat is Malaysia and Egypt and for sheep and goat meat are UAE, Iran and Jordan. India also exports a small quantity of processed meat to Thailand, Yemen, and Japan and poultry products to Saudi Arabia, Oman, Kuwait and Qatar.


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The future of the Industry

Production of good quality animals for slaughter is essential for the production of good quality meat. Hence, farmers’ cooperative can play a major role in the field of production and marketing of quality animals, extension education and encouragement of backward integration/contract farming. Maintain food safety at all stages of production, processing, packing, storage and marketing of meat and meat products, and adherence to standards which are prescribed by the importing countries.

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About PV Vyshnavi

  • Bangalore
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