Meat Board Runs Out of Ear Tags

Livestock farmers in the northern communal areas (NCAs) will not be affected by the unforeseen shortage of ultra ear tags at the Meat Board of Namibia.

The ear tags, also known as the standard tag will not be available until March 25 as stocks ran out last Friday.

Explaining the situation to New Era, senior veterinarian Dr Susanne Thalwitzer said: “We cannot give a complete explanation but assume that following the good rains in many regions the condition of cattle improved as compared to the previous year with drought conditions, which led to farmers deciding to market more cattle than usually during this time of the year. This resulted in a significantly higher ear tag purchase since the beginning of the year.”

Thalwitzer said that a delay in the shipment of new stock from Europe to Walvis Bay has compounded the problem.

“The timeously ordered shipment is scheduled to arrive ten day later than originally scheduled. We do not know the cause of the delay, but it is most likely due to weather conditions at sea,” Thalwitzer said.

“Farmers in the NCAs are not affected by this unforeseen shortage as their tags are not distributed by the Meat Board but all animals in the NCAs are tagged by officials from the Directorate of Veterinary Services,” Thalwitzer told New Era.

Asked about the immediate consequences of the delay for farmers not farming in the NCAs, Thalwitzer said farmers in urgent need of ear tags would have to purchase maxi ear tags in the meantime.

“We are busy clearing outstanding standard ear tags and will put an extra workforce in place to clear the backlog of standard ear tag orders once the new shipment arrives in Windhoek.” No standard ear tags will be available over the counter at the Meat Board up to March 25. “Farmers who do not need to immediately tag their animals should wait until March 25,” she recommended.

The NamLITS traceability system entered its third year at the beginning of 2014, using the double ear tagging system, whereby cattle get tagged on both ears.

Since then, more than one million cattle have been tagged and communal farmers who are more traditional famers and did not bother much with keeping records of their cattle have since joined the system in big numbers and use it as a tool to help their herd management.

Farmers who have access to the internet have the privilege of locking into NamLITS online to get all sorts of information on their cattle.

They can also apply for and receive an animal movement permit. Most importantly, the NamLITS system is used to control and do surveillance of animals diseases and hence protect the national herd.

Source : New Era