The recently launched e-livestock traceability system in Zimbabwe is set to gain access to global markets and improve the national herd’s health status for livestock farmers, Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Vangelis Haritatos has said.
Zimbabwe is one of the first African countries to have a block chain-based cattle traceability system. The facility is the first in the Middle East and Africa will improve traceability of livestock making it easy for livestock producers to access export markets.
This comes at the right time for where Zimbabwe’s famed beef industry, which collapsed in the 2000s following outbreaks of foot-and-mouth disease, is now rebounding.
Speaking at the launch of the E-Livestock Global and Mastercard Livestock Traceability System, Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Vangelis Haritatos said Zimbabwe needed to be able to trade on international beef markets to ensure the long-term sustainability and profitability of its livestock industry.
“The lack of a traceability system has seen Zimbabwe being unable to export beef to lucrative markets in Europe and the Middle East in recent years, markedly reducing export earnings from beef, which are vital to the country’s economy,” he said.
Zimbabwe’s beef cattle herd used to top1.4 million and raked in about $50 million yearly from exports to the lucrative European market, particularly the UK, Germany and the Netherlands. For most beef-producing provinces of Zimbabwe, commercial beef sales accounted for about 80% of income.
Max Makuvise, founder and president of E-Livestock Global, said traceability was set to bring new hope to Zimbabwe’s agriculture sector after an outbreak of a tick-borne disease in 2018 that led to the death of 50 000 cattle.
“It is an irrefutable record that proves producers’ ownership, sales and exports. For buyers, it enables them to efficiently manage their operations and guarantee product quality for their customers,” Makuvise added.
Using, this traceability system, each cow is tagged with a unique, ultra-high frequency RFID tag that registers it and its owner onto the blockchain. If the animal is dipped, vaccinated or receives medical treatment, the tag records the information onto the traceability system.
The recorded data will provide a secure and tamper-proof trail of each animal’s history. For farmers, the blockchain system provides an irrefutable record that proves ownership and can allow them to obtain a loan through using their cattle as collateral.
Consumers can also rest assured with such a guarantee of product quality, instilling confidence, trust and awareness into the supply chain.
MasterCard is forging partnerships with leading agricultural blockchain firms. Last year, it partnered with GrainChain to create digital records of commodities and collaborated with Envisible in 2019 to integrate Provenance with Envisible’s food traceability system, whole chain.
Elsewhere, beef traceability is being pursued in the supply chain from Australia to China by the Aussie agritech firm Aglive. And the block chain startup beef chain is also offering technology to allow consumers to trace their beef products.
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