The Ministry of Agriculture is implementing a National Livestock Identification and Movement Control Programme that should serve as a deterrent to animal theft and provide a system for disease control.
The Livestock Tagging Programme, launched at Belmont Estate, Saint Patrick (September 24, 2020), encourages proper record keeping and traceability within the sector, while aiding the Ministry in retrieving production data and strengthening its efforts toward food and nutrition security.
The programme will take on a colour-coded effect, specific to each parish, promoting an identification system that will serve as a deterrent to animal theft and provide a system for disease control in the sector.
Chief Veterinary and Livestock Officer in the Ministry, Dr Kimmond Cummings, said the programme will also involve a short interview with the farmer, regarding the animals to be tagged, so that information can be stored. This interview should capture date of birth, treatment, vaccination, health history, breed, sex and colour, among other things, and will complement the farm to table/fork concept.
This Livestock Tagging System will also provide a solution to the problem of ownership, often faced in the sector, due to similarities among animals.
The system will also be effective in monitoring each individual animal’s route from its birthplace to its death at the abattoir or slaughter facility. In this regard, the Minister for Agriculture, Hon Yolande Bain Horsford, as she spends her last few days in office, encourages continuity and follow-up sessions under the programme.
She said, “We cannot just tag animals and go. There needs to be a robust monitoring and evaluation system that buttresses a detailed database that is regularly updated. Additionally, there must be a strong coordination among the stakeholders of the livestock sector if this tagging programme and the broader identification and movement control system is to function effectively.”
The Agriculture Minister also noted the importance of traceability.
“Traceability is the foundation of any future system for food safety and epidemiological surveillance for animal diseases. There is a growing need for identification of livestock and livestock products, from the point of origin to the point of consumption,” she said.
The Ministry is urging all farmers to take advantage of the initiative, as it does not just help the Ministry to capture data, but it increases consumers’ confidence and demand.