Tags for goats, other animals
Chief Technical director, Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Dermon Spence, has said that under the National Animal Identification and Traceability System (NAITS), all animals, including pigs, sheep and goats, will be tagged.
Spence said that while much attention has been placed on the tagging of cattle as part of efforts to combat praedial larceny, all animals will eventually be included in the system.
He was addressing pig farmers and other stakeholders at the 12th annual general meeting of the Jamaica Pig Farmers Association (JPFA), at the Golf View Hotel in Mandeville, on Thursday.
Implementation of the NAITS was announced by the late former Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries Roger Clarke, during his contribution to the Budget Debate in Parliament earlier this year.
Spence said the animal tags were on the island and the ministry was in the process of increasing its stakeholder sensitisation and public-education sessions, to ensure the highest level of understanding and cooperation as the programme is implemented.
He pointed out that in relation to pigs, the computer software used for cattle tracking would be adapted to support the system to trace and monitor pigs from the farm to processing, packaging and export.
The chief technical director also informed that while the national animal-tagging system was expected to have the spin-off effect of aiding the Government's praedial larceny efforts, the system was primarily aimed at addressing animal health, identification and traceability.
"What this means, for example, is that the tag which will be affixed to each animal will be linked to its records through the passport, which is really the animal's docket of information with data on its birth, DNA/genetic information and health status," he noted.
Spence said the tag and the passport would be essential tools for monitoring and managing the health of the animal. "This is very important, especially in the context of the provision of safe foods for both the local and export markets," he said.
In the meantime, he told the farmers that as the Government continues its efforts to ensure that sufficient quantities of safe foods are available for all Jamaicans and that the country meets global food-safety requirements, it is important that they understand food safety quality management systems.
Spence said these systems include good agricultural practices, hazard analysis critical control points, good manufacturing practices, and others that are relevant to Jamaica's food security issues and its capacity to trade in line with international standards.
He noted that to this end, the ministry's food-safety modernisation act committee, working with several local and international entities, has undertaken a number of initiatives to promote and ensure food safety.