India’s growing population, rising consumer incomes, falling rates of vegetarianism and other demographic factors are increasing the demand for red meat.
India is a major global producer and consumer of carabeef (buffalo) and sheepmeat. Some sections of the population also consume beef (see Figure 1).
Sheepmeat has the strongest prospects for Australian exporters. This is due to dietary preferences and reduced tariffs under the Australia-India Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (AI-ECTA).
Demand for red meat in India is growing. In the immediate term, India is likely to remain a small market for Australian red meat exports. However, there is potential for future growth.
AI-ECTA has reduced the import tariff on Australian sheepmeat from 30% to zero.
Australian sheepmeat exporters now have a tariff advantage over New Zealand, India’s main source of imported sheepmeat. This will make Australian sheepmeat more competitive in the Indian market.
Australian exporters should build relationships with Indian importers and retailers now to benefit from future opportunities.
Figure 1: Red meat production, total consumption and consumption per capita, selected countries
Between 2019 and 2021, India was the world’s second largest consumer of sheepmeat. Compared to 2020, Indian sheepmeat consumption is expected to increase by 14% by 2031 (see Figure 2).
Figure 2: Indian sheepmeat consumption 2020 to 2030
Figure 3: Share of India’s population that reported eating chicken or meat once a week in 2005–06, 2015–16 and 2019–21
Domestic production will meet most of India’s growing demand for meat. Despite the importance of domestic production, there are opportunities for Australian red meat exporters in the Indian market.
The future success of Australian red meat exports will depend on:
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has guidance material about the AI-ECTA.
Meat and Livestock Australia has published a red meat country brief for India.
The Australian Government’s network of Agriculture Counsellors provided information for this article. More information about the Agriculture Counsellor network, including contact details, is available on the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry website.