A Technical Cooperation Programme Agreement aimed at providing the Ministry of Agro-Industry and Food Security with a software to record livestock in Mauritius, was signed, this afternoon, at the seat of the Ministry in Port Louis.
The Senior Chief Executive of the Ministry Agro-Industry and Food Security, Mr Medha Gunputh, and the National Correspondent in Mauritius, Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations, Mr P. Khurun, were present during the signing ceremony. The FAO representative for Comoros, Madagascar, Mauritius and Seychelles, Mr Charles Boliko, intervened live from Madagascar.
In his address, Mr Gunputh recalled that one of the major constraints in the Mauritian livestock sector is the present lack of traceability of animals and animal products. At present, tagging is being used to identify animals but this system is not backed by an efficient record-keeping system that would enable authorities to follow-up. Moreover, tags are regularly lost or tampered with, leading to considerable confusion in the administration of animal identification, he added.
He highlighted that several problems have been identified due to lack of traceability of animals and animal products namely, inability to obtain correct and timely information regarding the national herd; inadequate monitoring of herds leading to poor productivity; inefficiency of the dairy insemination programme; poor source verification at the abattoir; inefficient monitoring of animal diseases and animal movement; livestock thefts and illegal slaughter; and poor administration of schemes to help livestock keepers.
Mr Gunputh highlighted that the objectives of the project are to achieve four principal objectives as follows: preparation of a Procedure Manual detailing the system for the identification of animals and registration of farms; preparation of draft regulations; design of a software for the operation of the National Animal Identification System; and design of a communication strategy for and launching of an awareness campaign.
In his live intervention, Mr Boliko recalled that in February 2019, Mauritius benefited from technical support from the FAO in the form of a consultancy to review the present animal identification system in Mauritius, assess the institutional and regulatory framework, data base requirements and prepare a needs assessment.
He pointed out that the National Animal Identification System falls under the FAO Technical Cooperation Programme adding that the organisation has acquired technical capabilities in supporting countries in the agricultural sector. He added that the FAO provides technical assistance to Member countries in terms of legislation, institutional and technical capacity.
Lauding the National Animal Identification system project, he stated that it will enhance productivity, ensure monitoring of animal diseases and animal movement, counter livestock theft, and enhance administration of livestock keepers.
Furthermore, Mr Boliko underlined the strong political will and leadership associated with the agricultural sector in Mauritius.