Ethiopia launches livestock identification, traceability system


Ethiopian Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries launched national livestock identification and traceability system with the financial and technical support of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), through its Livestock Market Development activity.

Fully implemented, the system will help to gather information regarding source/origin of the animal, type of husbandry, and management system in place resulting in quality products for consumers and increased incomes of farmers.

For the last two years, USAID, through a livestock sector market improvement pilot project worth $1.4 million (over 32 million Ethiopian Birr), has supported the ministry in establishing the system, which is required to make the Ethiopian livestock sector more competitive in accessing international markets.

The Livestock Identification and Traceability system tracks animals using tamper-proof plastic twin ear tags. The tags capture relevant data regarding source of the animal, necessary measures in place to control and prevent occurrence of major animal diseases, and medical and diagnostic data necessary to ensure the animal’s health and the quality of its meat. All recorded data is stored in a central database server purchased by USAID, which is housed inside the ministry’s data center. The system will make it possible to improve the quality and quantity of the Ethiopian livestock and livestock products destined for export markets.

“The system marks a turning point in the livestock sector of Ethiopia because animal identification and traceability are important factors for livestock market in today’s global market,” said Stephen Morin, a representative of USAID Ethiopia. “This traceability system will promote the growth of a commercial livestock sector capable of competing in both domestic and international markets.”

USAID supported the ministry by providing day-to-day guidance on issues related to general legal framework development, animal identification and traceability systems development and on implementation of the system. To this end, USAID provided financial and technical support for an international exposure visit for relevant stakeholders to Namibia.

USAID’s five-year Livestock Market Development activity is implemented as part of the U.S. Government’s Feed the Future initiative and contributes to the Government of Ethiopia Agricultural Growth Program to improve smallholder incomes and nutritional status in four regions of Ethiopia.