To boost exports of value-added meat products, the Union Minister for Fisheries, Animal Husbandry, Shri Parshottam Rupala, has called on stakeholders to create region-specific animal disease-free zones in the country.
Rupala, while inaugurating the National Business Meet on promoting exports of value-added meat products organized by APEDA in New Delhi on March 25, 2022, said that even in case of a single outbreak of disease amongst poultry bird, the entire country is referred as ‘disease affected’.
“All the stakeholders must take small steps and work to declare small regions- a few districts at a time, as disease-free,” said Rupala, while referring to the model of Sikkim being declared as an organic state and its produce command a premium in the market.
He said that there is a need to initiate a survey with all stakeholders to prepare a road map with actionable points to make India disease-free animal health. “At the same time, we must have an action plan for identifying contaminated areas and quarantine just like we have done to prevent COVID19,” Rupala noted.
He said that animals are the life support system for our rural economy, they provide sustenance in difficult times and a great source of nutrition, particularly proteins for the rural folk. There is a need to work to increase animal productivity.
Union minister Rupala also released two manuals on the export of value-added meat products and pork & pork products.
While stating that the Ministry of Animal Husbandry is working for the development of infrastructure for improving animal wellness, health and nutrition to ensure an increase in productivity and quality, he also stated that while the world acknowledges India’s administering record number of COVID19 vaccinations, the government is currently running a massive vaccination drive for animals for eradicating Foot & Mouth Disease (FMD) and Brucellosis amongst the livestock.
In September 2019, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had launched the National Animal Disease Control Programme to control and eradicate FMD and Brucellosis amongst the livestock in the country. The Centre has allocated Rs 12,652 crore under the Central Government-sponsored programme, which aimed at vaccinating more than 600 million cattle in the country to mitigate the two diseases.
Rupala also recommended to the livestock industry to leverage the schemes of the Ministry of Food Processing Industries, Anima; Husbandry Infrastructure Development Fund and the National Livestock Mission for setting up animal farms for their rearing in order to produce good quality meat and thereby quality value-added products.
Dr M Angamuthu, Chairman, APEDA, in his welcome address at the national meet, informed the delegates that Animal Husbandry has a critical role to play in enhancing farmer income. He stated that India pioneered the export of meat and maintained the growth of momentum even during the COVID19 pandemic. “India is the largest exporter of frozen and bovine meat while achieving significant growth in organic honey and fish produce export,” Dr Angamuthu said.