India’s plan to create a brand to promote domestically-produced meat and meat products could fail if the links between livestock producers and processors are not strengthened, Tyson Foods’ local venture has warned.

“Unless there is backward integration in the industry and cost control, we cannot compete in the international market. We are reaching there in poultry integration but in cattle rearing we still have a long way to go,” Sushil Sawant, assistant vice president for Godrej Tyson Foods told just-food today (22 June).

India’s ministry of food processing industries (MoFPI) plans to invest INR2.4bn (US$40.3m) in modernising abattoirs and improving meat and livestock transport to boost exports. According to the MoFPI, India has 11% of the world’s livestock population but its share of exports is only 3%.

Only 33 integrated meat processing plants have been approved by India’s Agriculture and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA).

Liyaqat Ali, director, Al Hind Exports, a Meerut-based leading meat exporter, added better government efficiency could also play a part.

“Merchant exporters are keen on upgrading their facilities but the necessary permissions for infrastructure development can take a long time to come. Why just export? Even the meat sold domestically should be hygienic.”