National

Dropping of word ‘halal’ from APEDA manual won’t hurt trade, say meat exporters

Amiti Sen New Delhi | Updated on January 05, 2021

Importing countries will continue to buy as per their requirements

Meat exporters say the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority’s (APEDA) decision to remove the word ‘halal’ from its red meat manual will not affect business as exports will continue as per the requirements of the buying country.

“APEDA, being a promotional body, had put the word ‘halal’ in its red meat manual as it is the variety most in demand from foreign buyers. It is not a certifying agency. Dropping the word from the manual will not affect exports. It totally depends on the importing country whether it wants to opt for halal- certified meat or not,” a Delhi-based exporter told BusinessLine.

APEDA, which functions under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, recently dropped the word ‘halal’ from its red meat manual following certain Hindu groups complaining against it. The manual now simply says that animals are slaughtered according to the requirement of the importing country or the importer.

Halal is a particular way of slaughtering animals permissible under Islam and Islamic nations mostly place demand for halal-certified meat.

Controversy

Some in India had complained that the use of the word halal should be removed from the manual as it gave the impression that only halal-certified meat was allowed to be exported and that it went against the exporters of ‘non-halal’ meat exporters.

“The removal of the word may just be a statement for the domestic audience as all exporters know what the requirements and rules are. The kind of meat exported strictly depends on the demand,” an exporter of meat and leather operating from Kanpur said.

High demand

The fact is that the demand for ‘halal’ meat is very high as many non-Islamic buyers from countries such as China, Russia and the Philippines also opt for it due to hygienic reasons. “Many believe that halal meat has lower chances of being contaminated due to the absence of blood,” the Delhi-based exporter explained.

India’s buffalo meat exports were at $3.19 billion in 2019-20 while export of sheep/goat meat was at $92 million, as per government figures. Some of the top buyers of Indian meat include Vietnam, Malaysia, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the Philippines.

Published on January 05, 2021

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