Utilisation of ICT for improved livestock traceability: a case for Botswana, a developing country perspective

NTOKWANE, Poloko and DIBEELA, Khumo (2016) Utilisation of ICT for improved livestock traceability: a case for Botswana, a developing country perspective. Paper presented at: IFLA WLIC 2016 – Columbus, OH – Connections. Collaboration. Community in Session 110 - Agricultural Libraries.

Bookmark or cite this item: https://library.ifla.org/id/eprint/1491
Language: English (Original)
Available under licence Creative Commons Attribution.


Utilisation of ICT for improved livestock traceability: a case for Botswana, a developing country perspective

The paper aims to look at how the use of animal identification and traceability systems have been deployed in the country for improvement of animal production contributing to the country’s economy and food security for the people. The study’s concentration is on Botswana cattle traceability systems in the country. Livestock production is heavily relied upon for sustainability by people of Botswana. It is the most source of income followed by subsistence farming. The agricultural sector on the other hand faces a number of challenges such as population growth, shortage of water, climatic changes and urbanisation that hamper food production. According to Gosalamang et al.2012, Botswana has a livestock population of 3.36 million ruminants (cattle, sheep and goats) out of which 15 per cent falls under a well-developed commercial farming system, comprising cattle ranching and feedlots coexists with a large number (85 per cent) of ruminants under the traditional or communal grazing system (unfenced ranges) comprising small farms. The country’ traditional livestock farming system is subdivided into two: (a) the traditional livestock farming system based on small herds or so-called cattle posts; and (b) the traditional livestock farming system, under the Tribal Grazing Land Policy (TGLP) of 1975 based on relatively large cattle herds being managed under the communal grazing system, but operating on a commercial basis (Gosalamang et al. 2012). On the other hand commercial cattle production system, comprising fenced ranches and feedlots, is highly specialized, employing modern animal husbandry practices and strategic feeding to produce high-value beef animals. Agriculture in Botswana is the main source of livelihood contributing 2.3% of the GDP, out of which about 70 to 80% was attributable to cattle production (BEDIA, 2007). Cattle in Botswana are kept under two production systems, that is, the traditional (communal) and commercial systems. Currently, the traditional system accounts for approximately 80% of the national cattle population, while the commercial system accounts for only 20% (BEDIA, 2007). Information communication technologies (ICTs) have benefits of changing people’s lives by improving access to information and sharing of knowledge. In agriculture it can enhance access to agricultural markets; improved agricultural practices and information. But in most cases in developing countries farmers who are unable to meet traceability requirements run the risk of being marginalized. The study will also see if it is the case in Botswana. The European Union defines traceability as "the ability to trace and follow a food, feed, food-producing animal or substance intended to be incorporated into a food or feed, through all stages of production, processing and distribution" The animal identification and traceability systems have been used for different purposes such as tracking animal movement, monitoring health, controlling disease, and managing nutrition and yield. The target population of this study is cattle owners, the related stakeholders being the Ministry of Agriculture staff, livestock officers, livestock extension agents, the Police. The study will be limited to zone 11 which include among others South East District, Kweneng District and Southern District. Then within this district random sampling was done because it is difficult to identify an appropriate sampling frame for the study. The objectives of the study are: to determine the level of deployment of ICTs in Botswana animal traceability; to identify the types of systems used, to determine the role of the government in the systems deployment ; to identify the role of the famer in the systems deployment, to determine the usefulness/benefits of animal traceability systems in animal production, food security and marketing of Botswana beef to the international markets ; to determine the challenges and limitations on the use of animal identification systems and recommend the possible solutions to the challenges. The findings will be presented in the form of tables, pie charts. This study is expected to inform policy makers in making decisions on the deployment and improvement of ICTs to transform Botswana Agricultural sector more especially the cattle industry.

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