A total of 1,4m cattle have been ear tagged since the beginning of the ear tagging programme last year out of a total of a targeted 2,2m. This is according to Chief Public Relations Officer in the Ministry of Agriculture, Boikhutso Rabasha.
She said the programme started in the South East District before it was rolled out to other districts. She further explained that the programme is in two phases with the current on-going programme being phase one which is ear tagging using the analogue ear tag.
In phase two of the programme which she said involves the use of digital ear tags combs, famers will be expected to do the tagging themselves then register with the Botswana Animal Identification System.
On whether the programme will also include (red zones) areas that have had foot and mouth disease out breaks, she explained that phase 1 of the programme does not include red zones but that the intention is to have all cattle in the country ear tagged.
On the problems the ear tag operation is facing, she said the problems include absentee farmers when their cattle have to be ear tagged and shortage of resources such as transport.
To resolve the problems, she said that they continue to mount publicity campaigns and rationalise available resources with the aim of ear tagging all the cattle.
Botswana was in recent years pressurised to come with mechanisms of identifying cattle by European Union markets. At one point EU refused to buy meat from the country because the cattle lacked proper identification. Initially a bolus system was used but this was changed to the current tagging system on grounds that bolus was expensive to administer to cattle as compared to tagging.