Friday, January 29, 2010

Future-proofing with Tracing Scheme

We have recently given the green light to a livestock tracing scheme which will protect New Zealand’s excellent food safety reputation in international markets and help boost biosecurity.

The National Animal Identification Traceability (NAIT) project is a vital key towards future-proofing New Zealand agriculture.

It is primarily a data recording and collection system which will be compulsory, initially, for cattle farmers, followed a year later by deer farmers. It will start rolling out from October next year.

While NAIT has copped some flak, the decision is really a no-brainer. If we ignore the fact that most of our major trading partners already have animal ID systems in place and we fail to keep up, we will lose precious market share.

There will be a cost to farmers of around $2 more than what they are currently paying for non-electronic ear tags. But the focus is on ensuring that the tracing system is affordable for farmers and the wider industry.
The majority of farmers who I have spoken to agree that NAIT is an important step for New Zealand agriculture and I have been happy to see that many industry organisations also support the Government’s move.

New Zealand punches above its weight when it comes to accessing world markets and meeting the demands of our increasingly discerning consumers. NAIT is a logical step towards ensuring market confidence in our products and providing the best biosecurity protection and response possible.

For more information on the NAIT scheme you can visit the MAF website here or click here for a fact sheet.