Agri Business

Indian meat exports to get a boost as Cambodia decides to lift temporary ban

Amiti Sen New Delhi | Updated on June 22, 2021

Decision comes after Indian Embassy takes up issue, samples test Covid-19 negative

In a positive development for Indian meat exporters, the Cambodian government has decided to lift the temporary ban on meat supplies from India put in place last month due to fear of Covid-19 virus contamination after the Indian Embassy in Phnom Penh argued that there was no scientific evidence behind the restriction, according to a source tracking the matter.

Exporters say that the development reinforces the fact the Indian meat industry is supplying a world class product and one may expect shipments to grow this year despite the lingering effect of the pandemic.

“We are grateful to our Indian Embassy in Cambodia for taking up the issue and explaining things logically to the Cambodian government to establish that Indian supplies are totally safe. We are hopeful that our exports to the Cambodian market will touch $100 million this year,” said Fauzan Alavi, a large-scale exporter of meat from India and spokesperson for the All-India Meat & Livestock Exporters Association.

Temporary ban

Cambodia placed a temporary ban on imported buffalo and other meat products originating from India on May 1 stating that it was in accordance with multilateral trade rules that allowed restrictions to be placed on imports on the basis of ‘urgent public health protection’.

The country also decided to conduct testing and research for other pathogens, especially variants of the coronavirus, on the consignments. It planned to seek cooperation of the Indian government to find and identify sources of infection in the production, freezing, packaging and transportation of these goods, according to media reports.

The Indian Embassy, however, pointed out to the Cambodian government that the absence of scientific evidence on the Covid-19 spreading through food and packaging material, made the ban a non-tariff barrier, the source said. In a number of meetings with Cambodia’s Minister of Economy and Finance Aun Pornmoniroth, Indian Ambassador to Cambodia Devyani Khobragade insisted that the ban should be withdrawn as the Pasteur Institute of Cambodia had certified that all the samples were Covid-19 negative and fit for human consumption.

Huge scope

The Embassy also pointed out that there was a huge scope for Indian meat products in Cambodia as exports were at $9.32 million in just the first two months of 2021 which was over half of exports of meat worth $17.7 million in 2021. In 2019, meat exports to Cambodia were at $6.4 million.

Alavi said that no virus has ever been detected in supplies from India and therefore demand was on a rise. “Indonesia has placed an order for 53,000 tonnes worth $ 175 million. Egypt, too, has surpassed all historical records in buying Indian buffalo meat so far,” he said.

India exported buffalo meat worth $3.4 billion in 2020-21.

Published on June 21, 2021

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