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India buffalo meat imports soar to $17.7M

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An Indian butcher cuts buffalo meat as he waits for customers in his shop at a meat market in the old quarters of New Delhi. AFP

India buffalo meat imports soar to $17.7M

Cambodia imported $17.7 million worth of buffalo meat from India last year, up by more than 170 per cent from $6.4 million in 2019, the Indian embassy in Phnom Penh said in a press release.

This figure was revealed at a Virtual Buyer Seller Meet (BSM) for Indian exporters and Cambodian importers of buffalo and other meats on April 28.

Around 61 companies from both countries participated in the event, which was organised by India's Agricultural and Processed Food Export Development Authority (APEDA) and the Cambodia Chamber of Commerce (CCC).

An e-catalogue containing details of all participating companies was released at the BSM.

The embassy noted that buffalo meat imports from India accounted for 12.28 per cent of bilateral trade last year.

It said imports reached $9.32 million in just the first two months of 2021, and are expected to see exponential growth in the coming years.

In her keynote address, Indian ambassador to Cambodia Devyani Khobragade spoke at length about, inter alia, the consumption patter of meat and meat products in the Kingdom, the gap between local production and domestic consumption, and export opportunities for Indian companies.

She also expressed hope that with world class facilities and the resilient nature of the Indian meat industry, “Indian companies will be able to supply good quality meat and meat products to Cambodia at a much cheaper prices, increase its already growing market share and further contribute to strengthening trade and commercial relations between the two countries”.

Speaking on the occasion, CCC deputy director-general and Ministry of Commerce adviser Meng Nimol encouraged companies from both countries to interact and explore business opportunities to expand Cambodia-India trade relations.

In his inaugural remarks, APEDA chairman M Angamuthu noted that each export consignment of meat is subject to compulsory microbiological and other tests, as per the current Exports & Import Policy of the Indian government.

“All export-oriented abattoirs are most modern, state-of-the-art integrated meat plants, which are certified for Quality Management [ISO 9001:2008] and Food Safety Management System [FSSC 22000:2011], and under constant inspection and monitoring by various government agencies and veterinarians.

“All the plants follow the sanitary and phytosanitary guidelines given in Codex Alimentarius Code of Hygienic Practices for meat,” he said.

On May 1, however, Cambodia imposed an indefinite ban on the import of frozen meats and other frozen goods qualified as “high-risk” originating from India to contain the spread of Covid-19 amid a devastating second coronavirus wave in the regional economic power.

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