Issues relating to trade hurdles such as sanitary, phytosanitary (SPS) and tariff barriers in export of meat products from the country need to be addressed. It can be done by adopting global standards and regulations.

Strict inspection and supervision of exporting units is required during licensing and post-licensing periods. This requires the Centre to play a vital role in regulating the adoption of better standards for production, processing, packing and transportation of products by exporters.

Adoption of standards will not be an easy affair for exporters to implement and authorities to enforce. But, in the long run, forecasting a high return out of such investment in the form of increased share in global trade will be obvious.

Largest exporter India is one among the largest exporters of product group “Meat and Edible Meat Offal” (HS Code 02). During 2013, total exports in this category of meat were $4.8 billion.

The country has also witnessed a continuous growth in exports of this product. Vietnam is one among the major market for our exporters. In 2013, exports of meat to Vietnam were valued at $1.9 billion, about 40 per cent of meat shipments to the global market.

Despite high tariff rate, India’s market share in Vietnam has grown over the years. Malaysia is also among the largest destination for Indian shippers. It makes up some 9 per cent in total meat exports.

Among the markets that have emerged newly, exporters have made remarkable progress are progressing remarkably in Thailand.

During 2008 and 2009, total meat exports from this destination was $0.14 million and $0.08 million. It increased to $342 million by 2013.

Recent notifications From January 2013 to March 2015, there have been 163 instances where countries have notified SPS measure against its trading partners.

Most of these notifications were regarding food safety, human health, animal health and disease and certificate requirements. Similarly, a few notifications concerning standard requirements such as labelling and packing were raised under tariff barriers category.

Many of these notifications concerned all trading partners and not just India alone. In recent years, only Oman and Ukraine have notified India-specific SPS measures.

In 2012, Oman instituted emergency measure to prevent the entry of highly pathogenic avian influenza virus.

Similarly, Ukraine came up SPS notification against India in 2011 to prohibit the imports of animals susceptible to foot and mouth disease, their products and raw materials into its territory.

According to the notification, “the imports of other commodities from India, which are under the control of the State Veterinary Service, should be carried out according to veterinary requirements for imports into Ukraine of products subject to state veterinary and sanitary control and supervision”.

In both cases, no loss in exports was observed and the impact was nil in Oman markets. Exporters increased market share to 16 per cent in 2013 compared with 15 per cent from previous years.

Special corner Though the Indian meat industry is growing and exporters are grabbing the opportunity in the international market, the Centre has to ensure sustainability of the market by enforcing effective compliance to maintain the product quality.

On March 9, Apeda launched, a special corner to cater to the specific needs of meet exporters. The current foreign trade policy stipulates that each export consignment should be subjected to compulsory microbiological and other tests by Government laboratory besides being accompanied by a health certificate. allows exporters to apply to Apeda for health certificate for export consignment and registering a processing unit. The registered processing establishment has to submit an online application form and then approach the respective State Animal Husbandry Office, along with requisite fee, copies of the invoice, packing list, test reports, for collecting the health certificate.

State Veterinarian officials in the State Animal Husbandry Office can login on the website to issue the health certificate, making the procedure hassle free and less time consuming than earlier.

The system has just been launched and it will take time to get the response of the user to know how friendly it is and how much ease it has brought in certification process.

However, Apeda’s approach to use technology in facilitating its stakeholders and taking similar initiatives for other products are necessary to take the country towards leadership in the global agri-export market.

The writer is associated with NIAM, Jaipur. Views are personal.