Tag and trace cattle, ministry urges farmers

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

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AS part of its continuing implementation of the National Animal Identification and Traceability System (NAITS), the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries has intensified its national appeal to cattle farmers to ensure that they tag their bovine animals.

The 'Tag It and Trace It' media campaign, launched this month, is the latest in a series of activities aimed at getting stakeholders to continue to support its implementation of the animal tagging programme, which was made possible by the enactment of the Animals (Diseases and Importation) (Marking of Bovine Animals) Regulations, 2015.

The system makes it a legal requirement for all farms and establishments owning cattle to be registered and for the cattle to be affixed with NAITS ear tags and issued with cattle passports, the ministry said in a release yesterday.

The identification and registration system incorporates information on the animal's identity, ownership, geographical location, and movement activity. All information gathered will be stored electronically under the control of the Veterinary Service Division.

To date, the ministry said more than US$550,000 has been spent under the Inter-American Development Bank-funded programme through the Agricultural Competitiveness Programme and more than 12,000 heads of cattle identified islandwide, particularly in the parishes of St Ann, St Catherine, St James and St Mary, Clarendon, St Thomas, Portland, Trelawny, Manchester, Hanover, and St Elizabeth

The ministry also said full implementation of the NAITS is foreseen in another two to three years and is expected to result in full traceability of the bovine meat or animal that legally enters the food chain.

This will facilitate the ministry's disease surveillance and monitoring programmes, thus enhancing food safety, the release said.

Additionally, it will prepare farmers for the export market while garnering local trust in their products for wholesomeness and safety and contributing to reducing larceny of livestock, the release said.

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