ordering system which allocates ear tag numbers to each bovine animal, it has two codes, the stock brand code of the owner and the serial number of the animal; and c) the traceability system per se, which is the NamLITS itself. The ear tags can be visually read, but can also be scanned at establishments having the proper bar code readers. Owners must immediately report lost ear tags and request replacement. Animals cannot be moved if they have lost their era tag. The key drivers of the system are compliance with export markets, retaining the major export markets (EU, RSA), animal disease surveillance, protection of the national herd, and support for animal disease emergency preparedness. Additional uses of the system are the management of loans to farmers, linked to the identification system, and the collection of levies by the Meat Board. The NamLITS system issues movement permits electronically through 33 VS offices around the country. Producers apply for paper permits, which are also recorded electronically on the NamLITS database by authorized VS staff. There are currently plans to allow farmers and auction houses to enter their own data into the system, as the export slaughterhouses do today. At the slaughterhouse the traceability goes from the animal to the carcass and from there to the individual package. The funding for the implementation of this system comes from levies paid by farmers to the Meat Board. The cost of the private service contract agreement is of N$ 80,000 per month,
which only covers the cost of network support implementation costs are born by the VS budget. Currently this system is only enforced within the
r, there are
considerations for expanding this system throughout the northern part of the country, thanks to a Millennium Challenge program funded by the US. The legal basis for its enforcement is through the Animal Disease and Parasite Act. The distribution of ear tags is centrally controlled and each farmer has to order the tags through the Meat Board, which in turn orders each submission directly from the French manufacturer. This is something which appears to be complicated and not very cost effective. The cost of a double ear tag today is of N$ 14, which is high, especially for farmers not directly benefiting from the export market. All farms are registered and allowed to apply for movement permits and move animals from the farm as long as they are in compliance with the system. This means that farmers who have not returned their movement permits within the established period, or who have failed to submit the farm questionnaire will be delisted. These ‘closed farms’ will not be able to move animals until the recover their status with the VS. All cattle must wear an ear tag at 6 months of age, or when moved from the farm of origin, whichever occurs first. The challenges of the system are its high operating cost, the timeliness in reporting, the chance for transcription errors, the need for technical field support, as well as legal framework, as well as inadequate extension and the necessary monitoring and evaluation.
Visit to a cattle auction at the Windhoek municipal grounds: This was a very well managed facility within the city, used for livestock auctions and livestock shows. The auction was managed by AGRA, a Namibian cooperative. The Auction was inspected by two AHT from the VS to make sure all animals complied with the proper movement permits and showed no signs of illness. A total of 690 cattle (mostly young steers) were auctioned in lots. The operation looked very well managed and the animals were