Alan Davies AM, Minister for Natural Resources and Food
I have previously announced my intention to establish an electronic reporting system for sheep movements in Wales and am today pleased to inform Members how that intention will translate into reality. The new Welsh sheep movements system, EIDCymru, will be introduced in January 2015.
The requirement for an electronic tracing system is to be found in European regulation 21/2004 in response to the Foot and Mouth Disease outbreak of 2001. EIDCymru will provide Wales with a modern robust traceability system to respond quickly and effectively in any disease outbreak whilst delivering against recommendation 37 of Gareth Williams’s ‘Working Smarter’ report.
In addition to the significant benefits for the industry of having a robust traceability system, EIDCymru will go further. It will provide the opportunity for farmers and processors to use the increased level of traceability to develop their business and potentially their profitability. Farmers and producers may if they so wish establish working relationships using the individual animal identification established by EIDCymru to exchange information and feedback on individual animals.
EIDCymru will go even further by delivering wider benefits to the farming industry by supporting the branding and marketing of Welsh Lamb in new, developing and established markets.
In developing EIDCymru the Welsh Government has worked and will continue to work closely with the Scottish Government and indeed we will take up the Scottish offer to utilise ScotEID as the base on which to develop our Welsh system. I would like to thank the Scottish Government for providing ScotEID to us along with considerable advice on its application over recent months.
I feel that this is an excellent example of governments working together to support the farming industry, building on existing investment and exchanging knowledge and experience. I am sure that we can further develop this excellent working relationship as both systems develop to maximise investment on behalf of the farming industry.
In addition to our successful work with the Scottish Government, my officials are in advanced discussions with Defra to ensure that the understanding reached at Ministerial level, for our electronic systems to exchange information on the important issue of cross boarder moves, is delivered.
Today I am announcing the funding for EIDCymru and specifically the technology to support a new system to record sheep movements in Wales. Moving forward, Welsh Government will be working closely with Hybu Cig Cymru (HCC) to firm up the arrangements for delivery of EIDCymru for Wales. Over the coming weeks and months my officials, supported by HCC, will be working closely with key partners, stakeholders and individual farmers to develop the rules and guidance that will sit alongside the new system.
To this end, I will shortly be launching a consultation on the implementation of EIDCymru. This consultation will incorporate the consultation on the slaughter derogation (tagging options) which will allow respondents to consider these issues in context and in detail.
Alongside the work on developing EIDCymru, my officials and HCC, will continue their engagement with the industry and individual farmers to ensure that the users of the new system fully understand how these changes will impact on and benefit them.
This statement is being issued during recess in order to keep members informed. Should members wish me to make a further statement or to answer questions on this when the Assembly returns I would be happy to do so.