The Ministry of Agriculture has admitted it is struggling cover ground in its ear tagging programme as it faces a race against time to finish the exercise which will help in cattle traceability as part of the European Union (EU) requirement.
MoA revealed that only 300, 000 animals have been so far ear tagged out of the targeted 1,531,000 since the exercise started early this year.
“The main challenge we are facing in carrying out the project is that some cattle were being turned away from crushes because of lack of inappropriate documentation,” Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Oreeditse Molebatsi, said at a press conference this week.
The government has decided on cattle ear tagging as a replacement to the infamous Bolus Insertion option following criticism from farmers.
Molebatsi added that the FMD situation in the parts of the country that has had out breaks has significantly improved. He said in In Ngamiland, which has experienced reoccurrence of the disease over the past years, the last reported case was in September.
“Lack of effective cattle movement control was still a problem in the disease control,” he said, adding that the situation was not helped by freely available water in both the Okavango swamps and Lake Ngami.
Last month, a total of 35 cattle that strayed into the swamps were shot in an effort to control the spread of the disease. Their owners were paid P400 compensation in accordance with the Animal Disease Control Act.
In order to penetrate the lucrative European Union market, it is a requirement to be able to trace beef back to the individual animal the meat came from.