[08 May/The Country]

A new tracing system is now being considered by the velvet supply chain, which would allow each stick of velvet to be traced from the marketplace to the farm of origin. This would mean the nylon cable ties that are used to tag velvet at present being replaced with a new type of tag that will carry a barcode and a UHF electronic chip, which is also more durable than current tags. Several prototype tags have been trialled by members of the Southland branch of the New Zealand Deer Farmers Association as well as the three largest velvet exporters and refinements have been made based on feedback. They will enable product tracing, assist with supporting animal welfare, help prevent counterfeiting, and support the premium market. In the next season, a barcoded version of the new tag will be introduced to replace the cable tie, but existing tag distribution, recording, paperwork and Velvet Status Declarations (VSDs) requirements will not change. If this works well a fully electronic system with UHF electronic chips in the tags, will be rolled out in 2020-2021.Record keeping requirements and methods would then change, Sayer said. Dinz will hold shed meetings during June and July, at which farmers and others can ask questions about the proposed new system and give feedback.