£500,000 boost for Welsh mart and abattoir infrastructure

Half a million pounds of new funding has been announced to support digital infrastructure investments by eligible livestock auction markets, collection centres and abattoirs in Wales.

The money will be made available to small and medium-sized businesses and administered through Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales (HCC).

It comes as part of a drive from the Welsh Government to further strengthen and simplify digital animal traceability through a single multi-species database.

Over the next three months, from February 1, eligible businesses which serve as Central Point Recording Centres (CPRCs) can apply for funding to upgrade their digital infrastructure.

The fund will support the increased use of technology, and the required future introduction of Bovine Electronic Identification alongside the similar successful system for sheep, which is administered by HCC’s subsidiary company EIDCYMRU on behalf of the Welsh Government.

Once Bovine EID Tags are introduced, cattle can be scanned and the data transferred to a tablet or PC and uploaded to EIDCymru.

CPRCs, therefore, play a central role in a robust system of animal traceability which gives consumers confidence and allows swift action to be taken in case of any outbreak of animal disease.

The Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths, said: “This funding will offer the support needed to upgrade IT infrastructure, allowing for the increased use of technology to further strengthen Wales’s already robust system of animal traceability.

Our announcement will provide an innovative solution to some of the potential issues which could deter some facilities from operating in the future.

“Supporting CPRCs to embrace technology will also help make the next generation of farmers entering the sector aware of the advantages of EID in managing livestock.”

HCC chief executive Gwyn Howells added: “This funding is a significant investment for the industry.

“It will help a range of businesses to access the latest technology which will streamline the process of reporting animal movements, and add to the resilience and sustainability of the whole sector.”