Farmers worldwide play a fundamental role in ensuring food security, bolstering economies and helping advance sustainable agricultural practices. As we confront challenges related to climate change and to meet rising food and nutrition needs, it’s critical to understand how improved animal health and productivity can help enhance farmer livelihoods and contribute to achieving climate goals. In its continued commitment to advance farmer livelihoods around the world, the Zoetis Foundation supports World Food Program USA in helping the United Nations World Food Programme address food insecurity and close the gap in the delivery of financial and veterinary services among livestock farmers in Ethiopia and Kenya.
The Zoetis Foundation will provide $1.2 million in grant funding over two years to establish a U.N. World Food Programme signature program to benefit an estimated 160,000 livestock farmers in Ethiopia and Kenya by providing access to financial and veterinary services – to help them keep their animals healthy during and following drought periods. The initiative will also provide capacity-building support for an estimated 350 veterinary service providers.
“Improving the health of livestock – such as through innovation in vaccines and diagnostics – can help countries reduce their carbon footprint. In fact, new research estimates that scaling up existing practices in animal health could help feed 9+ billion people without an increase in emissions,” said Jeannette Ferran Astorga, President of the Zoetis Foundation and Executive Vice President, Corporate Affairs, Communications and Sustainability at Zoetis. “The Foundation is pleased to support World Food Program USA to improve the health of livestock which can ultimately improve farmer livelihoods and resilience in Sub-Saharan Africa.”
The initiative aims to provide an integrated model for the distribution of livestock insurance and increased access to veterinary services to enhance resilience against drought and improve the livelihoods of pastoralist communities. The innovative program collaborates with local businesses, by building financial safety nets, and enhancing veterinary and agricultural support for rural pastoralists. With insurance services becoming available in September, the U.N. World Food Programme has already seen more than 4,700 farmers sign up to participate in the program.
“Livestock is the principal source of livelihoods for pastoralists and millions more in the Horn of Africa,” said Barron Segar, President and CEO, World Food Program USA. “While drought caused by the climate crisis exacerbates food insecurity, we’re helping to equip communities with the tools and resources needed to thrive.”
Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) is home to remarkable growth in our world’s livestock population while also experiencing some of the highest human population growth rates. Two-thirds of the global extreme poor population live in SSA, and many rely on smallholder farming as their main source of livelihood, with livestock providing up to 45% of these families’ total income. Ensuring access to quality animal healthcare and productivity resources is vital to protecting not only these farmers’ livelihoods, but also the economic security of the region.
Additional initiatives funded by the Zoetis Foundation to help strengthen the farmer profession and healthy livestock in Africa include:
- Livestock Industry Foundation for Africa (LIFA): in its second year of funding, LIFA continues to carry out a public lectures series aimed at upskilling poultry farm technical teams, expanding their existing work in Nigeria and West Africa to six additional countries.
- Uganda Crane Creameries Cooperative Union Limited (UCCCU): in its second year of funding, UCCCU continues to establish farmer-led systems and tools that enhance the productivity, production, and incomes of smallholder dairy farmers in southwestern Uganda.
- Veterinarians Without Borders (VWB): enhances the food security and livelihood resilience of livestock farmers in South Sudan by selecting community animal health workers and veterinary doctors to provide several key services, including vaccination and direct outreach to farmers in remote areas.
To learn more about how the Zoetis Foundation supports farmer and veterinary livelihoods, read our previous spotlights featuring the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (U.S.) and Instituto Biosistêmico (Brazil).