Elanco Animal Health plan for food security in East Africa
Elanco Animal Health Incorporated has initiated a $3.1 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to provide sustainable development solutions to address food insecurity in East African countries – Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda.
The grant enables the registration, manufacturing and distribution of affordable high-quality veterinary products, along with intensive training initiatives for smallholder farmers and channel partners.
“At the intersection of business value and societal value we find ‘Shared Value’: the EAGA project is focused on assisting smallholder farming families in East Africa increase livestock production by providing them with access to high-quality, reliable veterinary medicines and knowledge to combat livestock disease,” explains Maria Zampaglione, Elanco One Health and Shared Value advisor. “As the project leader, I realize how much supporting these farmers reduces hunger and poverty in a sustainable way, improves their income and livelihoods while opening new market segments for Elanco,” she adds.
Through EAGA, Elanco intends to support World Food Day on October 16, which draws attention to achieving a #zerohunger world by 2030.
Dr. Moses Gitonga, DVM, a dairy farmer and director of the retailer Jesmo Agrovet Ltd in Kenya, which deals with veterinary and agrochemical products explains: “The EAGA project staff recently visited our dairy farm and business, assisting with training of staff and farmers on the elimination of flies and ectoparasites – a menace in the semi-arid Kajiado County. The intervention has seen a radical decrease in the fly population and our dairy cows are now at peace during feeding and milking time. Tick-borne diseases are now also very rare and the fly menace affecting households and livestock is effectively controlled. These measures have translated into improved hygiene and livestock production in terms of meat and milk output, significantly impacting the sustainability of our dairy farm and livestock.”
Livestock disease remains a significant threat to achieving food security in East Africa where currently 25 per cent of protein from farm animals is lost due to animal illness, reducing the supply of high-quality milk, meat and eggs and creating significant economic losses for farmers. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations (UN), 34 per cent of the people in East Africa are undernourished.
“We have just 12 short years to achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) – which is about ending hunger by 2030,” said Julie Lawless, senior director of Corporate Affairs at Elanco. “With global hunger trending up in recent years after a decade of decline, we must increase capability and capacity in developing regions to meet this goal. Supporting smallholder farmers in East Africa is Elanco’s concrete contribution to reducing hunger and poverty in a sustainable way while opening new business growth markets”.
The company’s goal is to enable more than 240,000 dairy and poultry smallholder farmers to access small sized quality products by 2020. The grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation further helps achieve this goal of improving the lives of smallholder farmers through sustainable livestock production.