Saturday, May 28, 2022

RIPCO develops livestock tracking and management system

The Rural  Industries  Promotions  Company (RIPCO)  has  developed a  Livestock  Tracking  and  Management  System  (LTMS)  which  can  monitor  the  health  and  movement  of  farm  animals  through  satellite  and  high  speed  communication  networks  technology.

RIPCO  Chief  Engineer,  Zeundjua  Tjiparuro,  confirmed  this  before  referring  interview  questions to  the  Senior  Software  Engineer  responsible  for  the  development  of  the  system.

The  Senior Software  Engineer,  Edmund  Otlaadisa,  said  apart  from  monitoring  the  health  and  movement  of  livestock,  the  technology  will  enable  RIPCO  to  capture  and  manage  livestock  information.  The  engineer  is  confident  that  LTMS  will  help  Botswana  to  comply  with  European  Union  (EU)  regulations  calling  for  it  to  record  the  history  of  all  cattle  whose  beef  is  meant  for  export  to  EU  countries,  after  the  Veterinary  Services  Livestock  Identification  and  Trace back  System  (LITS)  failed  to  satisfy  the  policy.      

Otlaadisa┬á said┬á unlike┬á the┬á LITS┬á bolus┬á insertion,┬á┬á the┬á new┬á system┬á will┬á use┬á Global┬á Position┬á System┬á (GPS)┬á collar┬á tags.┬á He┬á said┬á the┬á tags,┬á which┬á are┬á electrical┬á devices,┬á will┬á allow┬á livestock’┬á current┬á and┬á historical┬á information┬á to┬á be┬á recorded┬á in┬á the RIPCO┬á computer┬á station,┬á through┬á satellite┬á and┬á communication┬á networks.

“The┬á device┬á also┬á allows┬á easy┬á tracking┬á of┬á geographical┬á movement┬á and┬á location┬á of┬á livestock┬á at┬á a┬á particular┬á time.┬á The┬á track┬á report┬á will┬á be┬á displayed┬á in┬á Google┬á maps┬á with┬á drawn┬á virtual┬á fences.┬á The┬á fences┬á will┬á be┬á used┬á to┬á identify┬á disease┬á infected┬á areas,” he┬á said.┬á┬á

“When┬á infected┬á livestock┬á is┬á about┬á to┬á move┬á out┬á of┬á those┬á areas,┬á early┬á alerts,┬á which┬á can┬á be┬á motion┬á alarms┬á or┬á text┬á message,┬á will┬á be┬á sent┬á to┬á the┬á department┬á of┬á veterinary┬á services,” he added. “It will therefore enable agricultural field officers to instantly respond, hence having a better control on livestock disease spread.”┬á

He┬á said┬á that┬á “alerts┬á will┬á also┬á be┬á sent┬á when ┬ádisease┬á free┬á livestock┬á┬á has┬á got into contact with infected livestock, or has┬á been to the infected zone.┬á LTMS will ensure effective and efficient counter response by field officers to diseases.”

The RIPCO report about the system notes that it will also assist in improving response to livestock theft and loss.┬á “Apart from early┬á alerts of┬á diseases,┬á owners┬á will┬á be┬á notified┬á about┬á theft┬á and┬á loss┬á suspicions.┬á Through this system, RIPCO┬áanticipates┬áreduction of livestock theft, which is a big problem in the┬ácountry. ┬áThis will also reduce economical costs the government incurs looking after lost and stolen cattle (matimela),”┬á┬á states┬á the┬á report,┬á which┬á┬á clarified┬á that this┬á will┬á be┬á enabled┬á by┬á split screen view which┬á can┬á review the animal’s route┬á in┬á Google┬á maps.

It added that LTMS will let farmers know grazing behaviour of livestock.┬á “Through┬á this┬á system farmers┬á can┬á get┬á into┬á internet┬á to┬á see┬á an┬á accurate ┬áreport detailing when their livestock stopped for rest. Based on the average rest time for the animal, too much rest might mean that the livestock is either sick or dead.”┬á

When  pressed  about  when  the  system  will  be  implemented,  Otlaadisa  said  government  is still  preparing  necessary  logistics  before  it  can  be  put  it  into  use. 

Meanwhile,  RIPCO  has established  that   the  system  will  face  challenges  in  areas  where  there  is  shortage  of  communication  networks.  

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