New funding for Sub-Saharan livestock care
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has awarded a grant of US$15.3 million (£12.75 million) to Zoetis to improve veterinary care and diagnostic services in Sub-Saharan Africa.
The funding will allow the animal health company to expand its existing African Livestock Productivity and Health Advancement (A.L.P.H.A) scheme to more countries, helping smallholder farms to access diagnostic tools and veterinary products and services.
The initiative will put a particular focus on supporting female farmers. Women-led, female-only training courses will be held to increase participation in the scheme among women.
The original initiative, which received funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in 2017, aimed to tackle livestock disease by creating affordable and sustainable access to animal health products for farmers involved in poultry, dairy and beef production. Starting in Ethiopia, Nigeria and Uganda, the scheme later expanded to include Tanzania.
The new funding will see the initiative expand further over the next five years under the new name African Livestock Productivity and Health Advancement Plus (A.L.P.H.A. Plus). Kenya, Ivory Coast and five more markets from Sub-Saharan will be included.
There will also now be support from the scheme for small-scale fish producers working in Lake Victoria and Lake Volta, reflecting the fast growth of tilapia as a food source in the region.
To successfully implement the programme, Zoetis and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will work alongside the public and private sector, including local veterinary associations, farmer associations, NGOs and governmental authorities.
Kristin Peck, chief executive officer of Zoetis, said: “Access to medicines and technology will help farmers raise healthier animals, improve productivity and secure more sustainable revenue, which is critical to the economic development and well-being of the region and its population.”