National Cattle Identification Program


The Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development (“the Ministry”) is about to embark on a national cattle identification program that will revolutionise the cattle industry in Zimbabwe.  This program will entail having all cattle in Zimbabwe tagged with an electronic RFID tag. This is a form of electronic branding and each animal will be linked to its owner.

There are many significant benefits arising from this program.  This program will provide the Ministry with powerful tools to manage the national herd. This includes the nation-wide cattle dipping program, the provision and approval of movement permits, the recording of sales plus very effective disease control tools.

Having a national cattle identification program will also counter stock theft as each animal and its owner are easily identifiable by scanning the RFID tag.  Once this program has been rolled out nationwide, any animal without a RFID tag will be impounded by the ZRP Anti-Stock Theft Unit.

The benefits to farmers, the Ministry and Zimbabwe as a whole are extensive. They include the following:

  1. Traceability
    Traceability is the ability to track an animal from its birth to its death, recording all dipping, inoculations, and movements between regions. This enables the Ministry to provide accurate information as to exactly where that animal has been and can certify that if the animal has been exposed to diseases like Foot and Mouth disease.  With this type of traceability it will provide Zimbabwean farmers with the opportunity to export their beef to lucrative overseas markets such as the EU, etc.
  2. Anti-Stock Theft
    With the ability to identify all cattle in Zimbabwe the levels of stock theft are certain to fall dramatically. The ZRP Anti-Stock Theft units will be provided with special scanning devises to scan all cattle and positively identify ownership. This allows our police force to effectively monitor and control cattle theft and limit the losses incurred by our cattle farmers.
  3. Loans
    Zimbabwe has a vast untapped wealth in the form of cattle. With the new system the banking sector will be able to grant loans using cattle as security and registering a lien of the animal(s). Loans given to cattle farmers in Zimbabwe provide the ability to unlock the value of their livestock without having to sell. This will enable farmers to use their cattle to get bank loans for valuable and much needed farming inputs, capital expenditure or emergency funding.
  4. Disease Mitigation
    Mitigating diseases like Foot and Mouth or Anthrax is key to maintaining the national herd. Areas of outbreak can be quickly and efficiently closed down and limited in spread.
  5. Ease of Doing Business
    With an all-digital system, the speed and efficiency of owning and transacting with cattle is greatly increased. Payments for all services offered by the DVS can be done without the need for cash including the sales of animals.

The solution which has been developed is a very exciting one and is totally aligned with the objectives outlined in ZIMASSET, e-Government and financial inclusion of the entire farming community.  This will be a world-class solution and something that Zimbabwe will be very proud of.

With the adoption of this solution, both small and large scale farmers will benefit from this initiative.  A significant benefit for the entire farming community (small and large) will be financial inclusion for all livestock farmers. Historically large sectors of the farming community have been denied easy access to financial services.  With this initiative, no sectors of the livestock farming community will be excluded, and in particular it will ensure inclusion, and asset protection, for female farmers.