26 May 2020

Pink revolution in India4 min read

Source: The Hindu

Manifest pedagogy: India has already noticed the ‘Green’ and ‘White’ revolutions in its food enterprise. It has an enormous poultry and cattle population. Given the potential as well as concerns related, necessary schemes along with modernisation of the sector is the need of the hour to reap the benefits of the pink revolution.

Placing it in syllabus: Food processing 


  • Potential of Pink revolution 
  • Challenges to Pink revolution 
  • Current status of India as a meat producer and exporter 
  • Government policies to promote Pink Revolution


Potential of Pink revolution:

  • Pink Revolution is a term used to denote the technological revolutions in the Meat and Poultry processing sector. 
  • In India, the current meat utilization per capita is around 6 grams per day and will enhance to 50 grams a day in the next decade.
  • India’s bovine meat consists only of buffalo meat (carabeef) due to cultural reasons.
  • With 58% of the world’s buffalo population, India is home to the world’s largest population of cattle and buffalo.
  • The bovine meat industry plays a significant part in employment generation in the agricultural sector.
  • About 10% of the rural labour force is employed in livestock rearing and related occupations, which constitutes around 26% of the total agricultural value added.
  • According to Meat & Livestock Australia, a meat industry research company, the cost of production of bovine meat in India is much lower compared to its competitors like Brazil and Australia.
  • Meat production in India is generally a by-product of livestock rearing. In other competing nations such as Brazil, cattle are reared specifically for the purpose of meat production. This makes their bovine meat industry expensive compared to its Indian counterpart.
  • Given India’s geographical location, it can easily cater to markets in the Gulf as well as in the East Asian countries.
  • With rising incomes in the developing world and an expanding youth population, food preferences are shifting towards a protein rich diet. In such a scenario, India stands to gain from the rising demand for meat products.
  • There has been no report of adulteration in the Indian bovine meat industry.
  • Moreover, restrictions had been imposed on imports from EU nations on account of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) or what is popularly called mad cow disease. 

Current status of India as a meat producer and exporter:

  • In 2014, India surpassed Brazil and Australia to become the largest bovine meat exporting country in the world. 
  • Bovine meat became India’s top agricultural export item ahead of basmati rice in 2014-15. 
  • The major states where buffalo meat production centres exist are Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Punjab. 
  • These abattoirs conform to international hygiene standards, with zero hand-touch-processing and regular visits by halal inspectors from the importing countries.
  • Major export destinations during 2014-15 were Vietnam, Malaysia, Egypt, Thailand and Saudi Arabia.

  • According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Foreign Agricultural Service, India became the largest exporter of buffalo meat in 2012, exporting approximately 1.5 million metric tons of beef. 
  • It is also found that the broiler chicken meat sector has seen a 30 percent growth since 2009 and is among the fastest growing sectors in the Indian economy at a rate of 8-15 percent annually.

In a report titled the ‘Indian Meat Industry Perspective’, the FAO has outlined four steps that should be taken if India has to achieve a pink revolution.

  • setting up state of the art meat processing plants; 
  • developing technologies to raise male buffalo calves for meat production;
  • increasing the number of farmers rearing buffalo under contractual farming; 
  • establishing disease-free zones for rearing animals.

Challenges of Pink revolution: According to the Report of the Working Group on Animal Husbandry and Dairying 2012-17, the major constraints in the bovine meat industry include poor infrastructure, such as proper abattoirs and cold storage facilities, stockyards and bloodless storages. 

Without direct government support, these problems will persist and can outweigh the cost advantage enjoyed by this industry.

The upsurge of right wing ideologies and politics around beef has also worsened the situation, with some states banning buffalo slaughter. 

Other challenges include developing popular rules for meat manufacturing and exports, standardizing the safety components of meat and poultry, maintaining more hygienic strategies and developing funding in the sector.

Government policies to promote Pink Revolution:

  • 100% FDI is allowed in the sector.
  • No excise duty or income tax is charged in the meat and poultry sector.
  • No restrictions on the export of poultry and poultry products.
  • In order to keep a check on the amount of meat wasted, the quality standards, deterioration and contamination of produce, the government has launched a comprehensive scheme for the modernization of slaughterhouses across the country.
  • The Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority(APEDA), has approved 70 integrated abattoirs, slaughterhouses, and meat processing plants across the country. 
  • The National Research Centre on Meat based in Hyderabad is established to conduct basic and applied research in the area of meat quality control and regulations and is aimed at improving the quality and safety requirements for both the domestic markets and the export industry.


  • The FAO has estimated that approximately 18 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions come from livestock production. 
  • To produce one calorie from animal protein, 11 times as much fossil fuel is required than to produce one calorie from plant protein. 
  • Energy is devoured by growing feed, transporting feed, transporting animals, processing animals, packaging meat, transporting meat and keeping meat cold.
  • In India, 873 litres of water is used to produce one kilo of chicken meat, and 1,471 liters of blue water is used to produce beef in industrial systems. 
  • The horrors of industrial food animal production facilities include confined and concentrated large animal populations in small areas who experience short-lived, poor quality lives. 
  • The meat production facilities can also pose significant risks to human health and the environment.
  • Animal waste may also be a serious source of contamination and pollution of groundwater and air.
  • The concentration of parasites, bacteria and chemical contaminants in animal waste can have drastically detrimental effects on ecosystems and communities living near waste disposals.
  • According to the United Nations, 30 percent of the earth’s landmass is devoted to raising animals to become meat which includes land that is used for grazing and for crop growth which is used as feed.
  • India is said to be home to 40 percent of the population favoring a vegetarian diet which means that the resources India is devoting to meat production, which is not even domestically consumed, is high.

Mould your thought: What is the potential of the Pink revolution in India? What are the challenges faced to promote the pink revolution? 

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