Indian Carabeef Trade at a Crossroads: Implications on the Global Beef Market

India’s carabeef exports have been in decline since 2014 – and further declines are expected in the next five years, according to Rabobank's report, Indian Carabeef Trade at a Crossroads.

Report summary

India is a significant producer and exporter of carabeef, which is a by-product of the country’s large, but fragmented dairy sector. At 112m head, India is home to 56% of the global buffalo herd. Carabeef export supply comes from the disposal of spent dairy buffaloes. This consequently makes Indian carabeef price-competitive in the world markets.

Overall, Indian carabeef exports have been in decline since 2014. In 2017, India produced 3.4m metric tons cwt of carabeef, and exports rebounded to close to 1.4m metric tons swt (equivalent to 1.8m metric tons cwt, valued at USD 4.2bn). These exports accounted for approximately 18% of the global bovine meat trade (the world’s largest), surpassing Brazil and Australia (see Figure 1). However, carabeef exports resumed their downtrend in 2018. According to Ben Santoso, Senior Animal Protein Analyst at Rabobank: "We see a challenging outlook for Indian carabeef exports over the next five years. Chinese demand trends and India’s domestic policies – affecting production and animal health – will play a key role. These factors will also have consequences for global beef trade and prices."