India asks Bangladesh to import meat from them

The Bangladesh government previously stopped the import of frozen meat, especially buffalo meat, from India to protect local cattle farmers

India has requested Bangladesh to resume importing meat from them, in an official letter to the Livestock Ministry.

The High Commission of India in Dhaka recently sent a letter to the Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock with a request to resolve the issue, officials said.

The Bangladesh government stopped the import of frozen meat, especially buffalo meat, from India to protect local cattle farmers and help the domestic livestock.

According to the Import Policy-2021-24 notification that was issued in April 2022 by the Commerce Ministry, prior approval has to be taken from the Department of Livestock Services for import of meat including frozen buffalo (bovine) meat, the letter said.

Both Indian exporter and Bangladeshi importer associations have raised concern over the issue in the past couple of months, reads the letter.

They also have highlighted that due to change in the import policy, no import of frozen bovine meat has taken place in the past few months affecting their businesses.

All Indian Buffalo and Sheep Meat Exporters Association (AIMLEA) and Bangladesh Meat Importers and Traders Association (BMITA) have requested the Bangladesh government authorities to consider resolving the issue.

The letter highlighted that the Bangladesh national budget for the fiscal year 2021-22 imposed 20% supplementary duty along with an increase in the assessment value from $4-5/kg that was introduced for frozen boneless bovine meat imports from India.

The issue nullifies the SAFTA benefit available to Indian exporters, it also said.

It mentioned that Indian companies are among the largest global exporters of high-quality, hygienically processed meat, of a variety that is non-competitive in Bangladesh.

Bangladesh is now self-sufficient in meat production, a source said, but spent nearly $ 2.5 million in the fiscal year 2017-18 to import meat from 14 countries. Mostly by luxury hotels and food chains.

The country produced over 8.44 million tons of meat in FY21 against an annual demand of nearly 7.4 million tonnes, according to the Department of Livestock Services (DLS).

Bangladesh imported meat from 14 countries, with India being the largest source.

Other countries included Ethiopia, France, Korea, Thailand, China, United Arab Emirates (UAE), USA, Pakistan, Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia.