Agri Business

Cattle bone shortage: Commerce Dept asks Animal Husbandry Dept to take action

V Sajeev Kumar Kochi | Updated on February 05, 2021

The requirement is around 18,000 tonnes per month against a supply of 13,000 tonnes

Taking up a news report published by BusinessLine under the heading ‘Cattle bone shortage hits Gelatin manufacturers; imports soar’ on January 20, the Commerce Department has asked the Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying to examine the matter and take appropriate action.

In its letter to the Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying, the Commerce Department said it has learnt from the Chemicals and Allied Products Export Promotion Council (Capexil), that there is acute shortage of principal raw material, crushed bones or gel bones, to the extent of about 35 per cent of the requirement resulting in the decline in production and export of gelatin-based products like capsules.

“Due to the acute shortage of indigenous bovine bones, the manufacturing capacities are grossly underutilised and gelatin plants are unable to meet the requirements of the capsule manufacturers and the manufacturers are resorting to import of gelatin from other countries particularly China”, stated the department in its letter.

The Commerce Department further stated that Capexil has sought the permission to import gel bones or crushed bones from undetermined BSE risk countries as well, subject to actual user condition and as per the requirements mentioned in Article 11.4.14(3) of the Terrestrial Animal Health Code of OIE (The World Organization for Animal Health, Paris), as is being followed by all the countries including the European Union and Japan. BusinessLine had earlier reported that the shortage of cattle bones has put India’s gelatin manufacturers in a precarious position and they were unable to utilise their installed capacity.

Supply-demand gap

The shortage of cattle bone was due to the fall in demand for meat following the lockdown. The manufacturers were also hit by the spurt in Chinese imports which almost quadrupled from 530 tonnes in 2017 to 2,330 tonnes in 2020.

The requirement is around 18,000 tonnes of bovine bone per month against a supply of 13,000 tonnes. The shortage has led to sharp increase in raw material price which has gone up by nearly 60 per cent in the last three years, with almost half this increase post the lockdown.

The gelatin manufacturers had also sought permission for bone import from undetermined Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) risk countries.

Published on February 05, 2021

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