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Chief Technical Officer in the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Dr. Mark Panton, has said that there are plans in place to roll out a National Animal Identification Programme.
Dr. Panton was speaking at the 7th Annual General Meeting of the Jamaica Pig Farmers Association, Thursday (September 17) at the Golf View Hotel, Mandeville.
“There are current plans to roll out a national animal identification programme, starting with cattle and pigs. However, that programme has limitations that would have to be addressed, if we plan to meet international standards as dictated in the application of sanitary agreements set out by the World Trade Organisation,” he said.
In rationalising the need for a national animal identification programme, he said that a cut of meat should be traceable to the farm where the animal comes from.
“The reality is that a piece of meat that is served in a hotel, in a supermarket, or is exported overseas, must be able to be traced back to the farm where the animal came from,” he said.
He added that the programme is a requirement in order to have access to international markets, and that all players in the agriculture value chain have to buy into the programme in order for Jamaica’s meat industry to meet minimum certification standards, such as Humane Slaughter Association (HSA).
“Therefore, the farmer, the abattoir, the distributor, and processor, everybody will have to be registered. You will have to, at least, meet some minimum certification standards, such as HSA. A system has to be put in place that all records, from each player in the value chain, can be uploaded to our main data base, so that again we can be allowed to provide traceability from farm to form and from form to farm,” he said.
Dr. Panton said that the national animal identification programme looks very promising, as it not only offers excellent traceability, but also the potential to be a deterrent to praedial larceny.
“We are currently looking at one particular solution to this, which looks very promising and we will let that out after we have done some further due diligence. But, this particular system not only offers excellent traceability, but also has the potential to deter significantly praedial larceny. So we are going to be looking at that,” he said.
There are an estimated 4,000 pig farmers in Jamaica. Approximately 150 attended the AGM.

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