St Ann ready for animal ID system
Carl Gilchrist, Gleaner Writer
ST ANN'S BAY, St Ann: THE GOVERNMENT'S National Animal Identifications and Traceability System (NAITS) is to roll out on a trial basis in St Ann in November and farmers in the parish are happy that something meaningful appears to be on the horizon to combat livestock theft.
Furthermore, the system not only presents a form of identification, but also of traceability, a key mechanism if farmers are to export beef to United States, said a seemingly relieved farmer, Bob Miller.
Miller was more vocal than anyone else who attended a recent stakeholders sensitisation forum in St Ann's Bay, he being the target thieves who recently stole his prized bull, worth a farm gate price of around $170,000.
"It's an initiative that is well-needed because we need to have the registration of our animals. They mentioned praedial larceny, but the main thing is for us to have identification, traceability, that is one of the main things. We as farmers are glad for that."
The system will be for cattle only, in the first phase.
While expressing the need for more consultation leading up to the implementation, Miller conceded, "It's a good initiative; it's a start."
The Veterinary Services Division of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries staged the forum which saw more than 40 persons in attendance inclusive of farmers, representatives of government agencies, feed suppliers, veterinarians and others, leaving coordinator for NAITS Dr Ikolyn Ricketts pleased.
Questions were not in short supply as stakeholders, who prior to the meeting, were starved of information surrounding the project, dug deep for information. Several concerns were raised, among them, whether the system could greatly reduce the incidence of theft.
Police personnel at the meeting tried to reassure farmers that they would be working assiduously with the new system to help reduce praedial larceny.
Ricketts, the ministry's regional veterinary officer later told The Gleaner that concerns raised at the meeting would be addressed before the project is implemented.
"Yes, they (concerns) will be addressed, and as you would have heard from the responses, most of the questions have been addressed," Ricketts said.