Elanco Animal Health, a division of Eli Lilly and Company announced Wednesday that it received a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to provide sustainable development solutions to address food insecurity in East African countries. The commitment will work to improve animal health and productivity in dairy herds and poultry flocks for smallholder farms in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.
Elanco received the $2.86 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to enable the registration and distribution of high-quality veterinary products, in conjunction with training initiatives for smallholder farmers to assist with improved animal health practices as well as disease prevention and treatment.
Livestock diseases remain a threat to achieving food security and are a source of economic losses for people who depend on livestock for their livelihood. Beatrice Wanjiku, a smallholder poultry farmer in Thika, Kenya, realizes the challenges of disease prevalence, noting, “My main challenge has been mycoplasma (infection), where the birds would develop the condition at three months (old). This would eventually lead to a drop in production.”
“Elanco is a cause-driven organization and our vision of Food and Companionship Enriching Life is at the core of why we do what we do. We are committed to addressing global hunger by supporting efforts that ensure nutritious food is accessible and affordable to all. The grant from the foundation will further advance our vision by improving the lives of smallholder farmers through sustainable livestock production,” said Jeffrey N. Simmons, president, Elanco Animal Health.”
“The more people with whom we can share our knowledge and expertise and provide access to products, the more impact we can have on their animals,” said Comfort Phiri, Elanco business unit manager for Sub-Saharan Africa. “Since this education translates into positive impacts on farmers and their families for many generations, it’s a privilege for me to be on this team and to have the opportunity to do social good and business good.”
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), 32 percent of the people in East Africa are undernourished1 and 40 percent of those living in sub-Saharan Africa are living on less than $1.25 per day. In East Africa, 18 percent of children are underweight.
Through this collaboration, Elanco intends to apply the learnings from East Africa to other geographies and continue its leadership in food security efforts.