By Johannes Hangula
A delegation consisting of livestock ministers and chairpersons of parliamentary standing committees of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) is currently in Namibia to study and exchange views on Namibia Livestock Identification and Traceability System (NamLITS).
The Intergovernmental Authority on Development was established in 1986 and it is a multinational body founded by Djibouti, Ethiopia, Somalia, Sudan, Uganda and Kenya, with a focus on development and environmental control.
Welcoming the delegation on Monday at the ministry head office, Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry Anna Shiweda said the objective of the visit is to share information on the practical implementation of the livestock identification and traceability system in Namibia.
Shiweda revealed to the delegation that Namibia has 2.2 million cattle, around two million sheep and 2.1 million goats and these animals are distributed throughout the country with majority of them in the northern communal areas.
“In order to ensure good animal health management and safe trade in animals and animal products it’s important to have a functional livestock and traceability system. Our system is based on individual identification of animals using tags, registration of animals on the farms or holdings, management of central database and issuance of movement permits,” said Shiweda.
Shiweda informed the delegation that Namibia’s system is working well despite the few challenges which are manageable. The IGAD delegation was introduced to technical officials from the Directorate of Ve ter inar y Service that will be engaging them on the full implementation process of NamLITS and its cha l l e nge s in both the commercial and small scale livestock production systems.
Sp e a k ing on behalf of the delegation Dr Gebregzabher Gebreyohannes, who is the Ethiopian State Minister of Livestock and Fisheries, said that the IGAD region member states own a large numbers of livestock which is estimated to be around hundred millions, but still people in the IGAD region tend not to be benefiting from this resource because of the ineffective production system in the region and the inability of their farmers to access sustainable markets outside Africa.
“We identified Namibia as a potential country to learn from because of its success in livestock identification and traceability system as well as controlling livestock’s diseases such as Foot and Mouth Diseases (FMD). The experience that we will learn from Namibia will definitely improve our farmers’ livelihoods and livestock condition in the region,” said Gebreyohannes.
The delegation will be departing tomorrow after a meeting on the outcomes with the Minister of Agriculture, John Mutorwa.
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