Brazil has just carried out the largest export of bovine genetics in history to India. The Brazilian subsidiary of Canadian Alta – formerly Alta Genetics – shipped 40,000 doses of semen to the country in December, collected from four Brazilian Gir bulls.
The acquisition was made by the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB), a cooperative of dairy producers in India, linked to the country’s government.. The objective is to increase the average productivity of the local herd by improving the animals.
India has the largest dairy herd in the world, with 61.5 million cows in production. The number is three times greater than the second place, the European Union, with 20 million animals. However, the average productivity per animal in Europe is 4.5 times higher than in India.
“100 years ago, India sent the genetics of zebu animals to Brazil. Now, they are returning to look for these genetics, which have undergone 40 years of selection and improvement, to improve their herd”, said the director of Alta Brasil, Heverardo Carvalho, to IM Business.
According to the executive, the first conversations with the NDDB began in 2020, still in the midst of the pandemic. There were dozens of technical visits and health questions to reach the four selected animals and complete the deal..
The bulls are from Minas Gerais properties – Fazenda Genipapo, Fazenda Brasília, Santa Edwiges and Tropical Genética.
The Indian government’s interest in increasing local production is no coincidence. Domestic consumption has grown at an average annual rate of 2.5% over the last five years. With an expanding population, it is expected that 89 million tonnes of milk will be consumed in India by 2024.
Despite large exports, foreign sales represent less than 5% of Alta’s revenue in Brazil. The company liberates the domestic market and has a 30% market share in the bovine semen trade in the country.
In 2023, the company sold 7.5 million doses. The volume remained stable compared to 2022, in a year in which the bovine genetics market shrank by around 5%.
In Carvalho’s assessment, the rancher postponed the investments expected for the first half of the year due to political uncertainty. In the second half of the year, business improved, but not enough to reverse the situation seen in the first six months..
Another negative point was the cattle market. The livestock cycle increased the supply of animals for slaughter, lowering the prices paid to livestock farmers, who held back on investments in genetics. With 75% of the genetics market focused on beef cattle, the segment felt the effects.
“Plus, we had the weather. In some regions we had excessive rain. In others, long periods of drought. Two thousand and twenty-four will be better, a year of transition, towards a scenario of more accentuated growth in 2025 and 2026”, says the executive.
IM Business Agro
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