The government has been told to work out a mechanism whereby cattle can be barcoded so as to enable livestock keepers and farmers to easily get collateral for securing loans from banks.
Fortunately, banks have welcomed the proposal saying it is a new venture that needs the bankers, respective ministries and the livestock keepers to work out a system to promote this new economic field.
According to GSI, once in place, the barcode system would facilitate cattle traceability via satellite that will monitor the movement of livestock’s throughout the Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) system “with the aid of swallowed bolus”.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with The Guardian yesterday Barcodes executive Pius Mikongoti said with the system in place livestock keepers and pastoralists would be able to acquire loans from financial institutions with their livestock acting as collateral for mortgages.
“The system is going to be useful for both farmers and the government since the former devoid of land or house collateral would use cattle’s to acquire money and the government would in turn also have a better and modern method of tracking and knowing the number of cattle in the country rather than using the present manual method, beside getting revenue,” Mikongoti said.
Currently Tanzania is number two in Africa after Ethiopia in terms of largest number of cattle, with the figure standing in scores of millions.
The breakdown, according to 2010 statistics is 19.2 m cattle, 3.6 m sheep, 13.7 m goats, 1.8 m pigs and 35 m chicken.
For his part, Tanzania Bankers Association (TBA) chairman Lawrence Mafuru, besides welcoming the idea, he said this is a lucrative venture stakeholders ought to discuss to gauge the risk opportunities whereby both farmers and banks can benefit.
Commenting on the matter, Agriculture, Food Security and Cooperative minister Christopher Chiza said the ministry has not yet began implementing the programme for livestock to be used as collateral.
However, he added: “The ministry will start to prepare to implement such a programme after discussions with stakeholders who will show interest especially the banks”.
Livestock and Fisheries Development minister Dr David Mathayo on the other hand did not respond on this matter.
Meanwhile, a total number of 400 firms in the country have already registered for barcodes with Arusha and Kilimanjaro regions being among the leading region, according to Mikongoti.
He called upon entrepreneurs to put their products in the barcode systems so that they could be sold in mini and supermarkets.
He added that barcoding systems enables products to influence quality packaging, quality labeling, acquire marketing penetration and traceability.
Livestock production is one of the major activities in Tanzania contributing greatly to the economy, but with little input to government revenue.
The sub sector contributes to national food supply, converts rangelands resources into products suitable for human consumption and is a reliable source of income.
It provides about 30 per cent of the agricultural GDP of which about 40 percent originates from beef production, 30 percent from milk production and another 30 percent from poultry and small stock production.
Commercial ranching accounts for about 2 percent of the total cattle herd. It is practised mainly by National Ranching Company (NARCO).