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Govt introduces digital cattle tracking system

by Staff reporter
07 May 2018 at 07:07hrs | Views
THE Government has introduced a sophisticated digitalised cattle tracking system to curb stocktheft and quicken the process of cattle clearance in the country.

The system, which is linked to the internet, uses an electronically monitored device linked to an animal ear tag.

It helps in the identification and traceability of cattle and monitoring their movement.

Under the programme, which is being co-ordinated by Icecash (Pvt) Ltd at least 90 000 head of cattle have been captured in the national cattle data system with about 10 000 farmers having been registered in the system so far.

Icecash project coordinator Mr Rob Duncan said his organisation signed a contract with the Department of Livestock and Veterinary Services in September last year to implement the system.

"The Department of Livestock and Veterinary Services contracted our company and we are the service providers for soft and hardware. It is in actual fact a Department of Livestock and Veterinary Services' initiative," he said.

Mr Duncan said once the system is fully fledged, it would not be necessary for people to visit police stations and offices of the Department of Livestock and Veterinary Services to acquire animal movement permits.

"Under this new digitalised traceability system, every farmer gets an electronic card, which is directly linked with every animal through an ear tag. The system ensures that the tagged animal whose features are all captured in the system is easy to track wherever it goes.

"Basically with this new system the issue of police clearance will automatically fall away since the proof of ownership would be on the card. This system is very efficient and a great time saver as it will also cut on the process of first taking a police officer to the farm to identify the cattle and then to the Veterinary offices to get a clearance permit," he said.

Mr Duncan said they conducted a pilot project in Muzarabani district where 70 000 cattle were tagged under the first phase.

"We tagged about 70 000 cattle in Muzarabani in the first 60 days as a pilot project to test how effective the software operates. The Department of Livestock Veterinary Services was satisfied that the system works so we are now going to the second phase, which will see us rolling out the programme around the country," he said.

"The system provides a useful database and in the first district where we started the project in Muzarabani, there were 45 000 cattle on the official census, but we managed to tag 70 000 cattle. So people like donors, government departments can now have accurate figures through this new system."

Mr Duncan said it will take two years to tag the country's entire herd.

"Once an animal is registered we have got a very strong database so that we know every animal, its owner and where it is in the country," he said.

The system also helps in animal disease control as it will be able to detect whether the animal will be coming from a foot-and-mouth infected zone.

Mr Duncan said the system is also a boost for farmers intending to use their livestock as collateral to access bank loans.

"Collaterally, the banks are very happy if they know for the first time that a farmer can prove that he or she actually owns cattle and every time they are dipped, the cattle are scanned and that information is relayed to the bank and that way the bank will be able to know that the cattle still exist," he said.

Mr Duncan said once the information is captured it can be reproduced in any form. "For commercial cattle farmers, the system is quite a huge advantage because at the moment banks don't trust cattle breeders because there is no proof that you actually own one, but once tagged and registered in your name, it's proof that you own them," he said.

Mr Duncan said in Muzarabani district some tagged cattle got lost in December last year and they managed to identify the owner, his address and contact numbers.

"Stocktheft cases in Muzarabani have drastically dropped because of this new technology. In the past cattle would wander and eventually get lost or stolen," he said.

Source - chronicle