NAIROBI, Kenya, May 5 – The government is to embark on a multi billion-shilling pilot project for tracking livestock through the use of a computer chip.
The chip dubbed ‘Rumen Bolus’ will contain animal names, owners, district and country of origin, in what Livestock Assistant Minister Aden Duale described as a move to reduce incidents of cattle rustling along the country’s borders.
“We want to use it for control of cattle rustling; when a Pokot raids a Turkana now he will say that the animal belongs to him. But if we have a micro-chip in this animal, then we can say that this animal belongs to a Turkana or it belongs to a Samburu,” he explained.
He was speaking during a forum of IGAD (Inter Governmental Authority on Development) member countries where he said the project would cost more than Sh50 billion.
“Kenya has 13 million animals so the investment will be higher,” he explained.
Livestock identification and traceability is increasingly gaining importance in the world for the purpose of food safety, herd management, livestock movement and disease control, marketing of livestock and livestock products.
In the border lands of the great horn of Africa, it is a potential tool in preventing and mitigating the rampant livestock theft.
The Livestock Assistant Minister said that due to many historical, political governance and harsh climatic conditions, pastoralists in the border lands face numerous challenges.
He said that as a result of their struggle to secure their livelihoods, the pastoralists were forced to adapt practices that are implicitly associated with insecurity.
He pointed out that the cattle rustling phenomenon posed a serious threat to the peace and social- economic well being of the livestock dependent communities. He attributed this to the evolution of cattle rustling to a more violent and confrontative affair leading to the loss of both human and livestock lives.
Mr Duale said that this threat to human security has called for urgent national and regional interventions prompting countries in the region to come up with elaborate interventions in response.
He stated that one such initiative was the ‘Protocol for the Prevention, Combating and eradication of cattle rustling in eastern Africa’ (EAPPCCO).
“EAPPCCO in collaboration with the Institute for Security Studies is implementing the Mifugo project whose mandate is to facilitate the signing, ratification and full implementation of the protocol,” he said.