In order to boost exports of value-added meat products, Union Minister for Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry & Dairying, Parshottam Rupala has called on stakeholders to work towards the creation of region-specific animal disease-free zones in the country.
Rupala, while inaugurating the National Business Meet on promoting exports of value-added meat products organised by Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) in New Delhi on March 25, 2022, said that even in case of a single outbreak of disease amongst poultry bird, the entire country is referred as ‘disease affected’.
“All the stakeholders must take small steps and work to declare small regions- a few districts at a time, as animal disease-free zones,” said Rupala while referring to the model of Sikkim being declared as an organic state and its produce command a premium in the market.
He said that there was a need to initiate a survey with all stakeholders to prepare a roadmap with actionable points to make India disease-free in terms of animal health. “At the same time, we must have an action plan for identifying contaminated areas and quarantine just like we have done for prevention of Covid-19,” Rupala noted.
He said animals are the life support system for our rural economy, they provide sustenance in difficult times and a great source of nutrition, particularly proteins for the rural folk. There is a need to work to increase animal productivity.
While stating that the Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry & Dairying is working for the development of infrastructure for improving animal wellness, health and nutrition to ensure increase in productivity and quality, he also stated that while the world acknowledges India’s administering record number of Covid-19 vaccinations, the government is currently running a massive vaccination drive for animals for eradicating Foot & Mouth Disease (FMD) and Brucellosis amongst the livestock.
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In September 2019, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had launched the National Animal Disease Control Programme to control and eradicate the FMD and Brucellosis amongst the livestock in the country. The Centre has allocated Rs 12,652 crore under the Central government-sponsored programme which aimed at vaccinating more than 600 million cattle in the country in an effort to mitigate the two diseases.
Rupala also recommended to the livestock industry to leverage the schemes of the Ministry of Food Processing Industries, Animal Husbandry Infrastructure Development Fund and the National Livestock Mission for setting up animal farms for their rearing in order to produce good quality meat and thereby quality value-added products.
Dr. M Angamuthu, Chairman, APEDA, in his welcome address at the national meet, informed the delegates that animal husbandry has a critical role to play in enhancing farmers’ income. He said that India pioneered the export of meat and maintained the growth of momentum even during the Covid-19 pandemic. “India is the largest exporter of frozen and bovine meat while achieving significant growth in export of organic honey and fish produce,” Dr Angamuthu said.
Besides the senior officials from the Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying and APEDA, officials from leading players in the livestock industry represented by Allana Sons, Venkateshwara Hatcheries, Lulu Group, Hind Agro Industries, Mayur Piggery Farm, Darshan Foods, ITC Group, AOV, Hind Agro Industries, NRC on Pig, NIFTEM-Kundli and others participated in the day-long meet.
APEDA promotes exports of agriculture and animal fresh and processed products by setting standards and specifications, suggesting and supporting improvement in packaging, marketing strategies, facilitating the development of products for export, setting export zones, and organising buyer-seller meets to connect India’s exporters with relevant importers in destination markets.