Ear Tags to Increase With N$2.50

Ear tag prices will be adjusted by N$ 2.50 per set of tags as from May 1, the Meat Board of Namibia has confirmed.

The increase comes after the price of ear tags have remained unchanged for a period of almost four years. In an official announcement, the Meat Board of Namibia says it is distributing official cattle ear tags in the Foot and Mouth Disease Free Zone of the country on a cost recovery basis and has no other option to adjust the prices of Standard and Maxi era tags in light of the constant increase in operational and transport costs. “While awaiting a new procurement process with the future supplier (s), tag prices have to be adjusted to prevent a deficit on the Meat Board account. The Meat Board runs the central distribution of official ear tags for the area south of the Veterinary Corridor Fence on a cost recovery basis, Dr Susanne Thalwitzer of the Directorate Veterinary Services (S) told Farmers Forum.

For all orders placed from May 1, the ear tags will be sold at the following prices: N$19.00 per set of Standard tags and N$22.50 per set of Maxi tags.

Namibia has made great strides in becoming a role model as far as its Animal Identification and Traceability System (NamLITS) is concerned and the humble ear tag plays a vital role in achieving this status. A delegation from Botswana visited Namibia last year to benchmark on the Namibian system.

The system is not just vital in combatting animal diseases, but also because Namibia is constantly gaining exports and access to lucrative markets and this is due to the credibility of the traceability system.

The current double ear tagging system was started three years ago whereby cattle are tagged on both ears with a plastic conventional tag on the right ear and the electronic button-like tag on the left ear.

Initially farmers were mixing up the ear tagging as not everyone understood “double ear tags” and placed two ear tags set on both ears, meaning that one cow got two different identifications. But steady progress has been made in even rural areas and the Northern Communal Areas where these tags are distributed by officials from the S.

Most communal farmers, who are more of traditional farmers and didn’t bother with keeping records of their cattle, can nowadays use the system as a tool to help their herd management.The farmers who have access to the internet have the privilege of locking onto the NamLITS online (www.namlits.na) and get all sorts of this information about their cattle. They also have the privilege of applying and receiving an animal movement permit in the comfort of their homes or offices. This is quite convenient and cost effective since it eliminates driving to veterinary offices for a permit application.

Most importantly, the NamLITS system is used to control and do surveillance of animal diseases, and hence protect the national herd. A good example is that time when buffaloes were sighted in the Okakarara constituency’s communal areas and we had to trace them as well as livestock that were moved from that area. The system gave us the credibility of tracking back these movements and taking the necessary precautions to control the buffaloes for possible transmission of the food and mouth (FMD) disease to our cattle in the free zone with disastrous consequences.

In addition to animal disease control, farmers (and veterinary services) can use the system to mark which animals were vaccinated for certain diseases, and even given any treatment. Weekend farmers finally found a system that they can use to track down their cattle as well. You round off the cattle and just mark the ones present and you can deal with the farm workers to find out why cow number so and so is not present, maybe for consecutive times.

Additional benefits of the system is that, for example, with the drought relief subsidy, that is due to farmers who sold their animals as a drought mitigation measure, the NamLITS system is being reliably used to verify the movement of animals that were sold. Another great benefit is that various financial institutions are requesting potential loan takers to proof the number of animals they have, which can be verified on the system before the transaction can be facilitated.

To have an animal identification and traceability system that can assist in tracing every livestock from the place of origin, through the transport process, at auctions, the abattoir up until you have that piece of meat on your plate, is something to be proud of. Thus, let’s all comply and uphold our NamLITS system for the benefit of the producers, the livestock industry and the country as a whole. No more keeping those ear tags under the beds!, says Dr Baby Kaurivi, senior veterinarian of the S.

Source : New Era