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CHILE: LIVESTOCK TRACKING SYSTEM HELPS FARMERS COMPLY WITH INTERNATIONAL FOOD SAFETY STANDARDS



Chile has one of the world's most competitive agriculture sectors. However, new demands of the global market and an open economy, together with rapid sectoral changes, forced the country to design a consistent agricultural policy, particularly in the livestock sector. In order to meet more stringent hygiene and food safety requirements, as well as provide the necessary information associated with the final product, a tracking system was required to demonstrate full compliance with international food safety standards.

Focus on Cattle Identification Systems

In 2002, FAO provided assistance with a TCP project, valued at US$120 000, to evaluate the technical and economic feasibility of establishing a National Cattle Identification System; prepare a technical proposal for the system and a strategy to implement it; and present a proposal for a national normative framework to facilitate its incorporation into the existing institutional framework. The project, completed in 2003, resulted in a number of specific proposals regarding: the type of identifier device to be attached to the animals; the numeric code to be adopted and the way to combine it with the national registry of cattle farms; the use of farm record books; procedures for monitoring animal movements; the organization of a unified data base; and general procedures for each province to gradually implement the system.

“Increased competitiveness and greater exports”

The Ministry of Agriculture implemented the project efficiently, and provided the necessary logistic and administrative support. After project completion, the Institution maintained the highest level of commitment and support, carrying out several consultations at national level on project results and assuming responsibility for the design and subsequent implementation of the Official Cattle Health Traceability Programme, which the Government established in September 2004.

By January 2005, the programme covered the entire country, thus giving farms nationwide the potential to benefit through increased competitiveness and greater exports of animal products.


The Minister of Agriculture of Chile ready to put the identification tag on a cow.

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