An initiative launched in 2017 with a $3.1 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is fast-changing fortunes of dairy and poultry smallholder farmers in East Africa.
The East Africa Growth Accelerator (EAGA) initiative has delivered a Social Return on Investment (SROI) of almost 250% for, their families and other stakeholders in the region.
“We believe that healthier animals are the x-factor for solving some of society’s greatest problems,” said Maria Zampaglione, senior advisor, Corporate Social Responsibility at Elanco. “The impact and social return on investment we are seeing with the EAGA initiative so far reiterates that belief. Healthier animals are making a real difference for East African families and communities through the livelihoods and well-being they support.”
The initiative has enabled the registration, manufacturing and distribution of affordable, high-quality veterinary products to address, prevent and treat livestock disease, along with intensive training for dairy and poultry smallholder farmers and channel partners in Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda.
“I have reduced deaths of my chickens and can produce more eggs,” said one poultry smallholder farmer who has been involved in the initiative. “My income has increased.”
For every US$1 invested by Elanco and its partners in the EAGA initiative during its initial phase from June 2017 to December 2018, $2.48 of socio-economic value has been created for society in East Africa.
According to FAO’s 2018 Regional Overview of Food Security and Nutrition, 20 per cent of the population in Africa is undernourished1. In Eastern Africa, the prevalence is higher than the continental average at 31 per cent, or more than 130 million undernourished people. Animal proteins like meat, milk, eggs and fish provide critical nutrients for physical and cognitive development, but 25% of protein2 from farm animals is lost due to animal illness in the East African region.
The initiative was started to among other things provide sustainable development solutions to address potential food shortage in the region due to livestock disease and mortality.
By providing farming families with access to high-quality, reliable veterinary medicines and knowledge to support healthier food animals, the EAGA initiative has made strides in addressing three of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals – zero hunger, ending poverty and ensuring good health and well-being of people.
Since its launch, $8,184,000 socio-economic value was generated for the farmers in Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda and 3,753 dairy and poultry smallholder farmers were trained on animal diseases and the correct use of relevant animal health products so they could ensure the right care for their animals.
It is estimated that 220,000 livestock farmers were trained on animal health via interactive radio, in a 13-week series aired in Northern Tanzania in partnership with the NGO Farm Radio International. The initiative used radio to reach a wider, rural population which has little access to agricultural services.
According to farmers surveyed, their income has increased by at least 20% after applying the knowledge gained and using animal health products related to this initiative. Farmers reported an increase in milk and egg sales from their products, which improves their income and well-being.
The farmers learned how to effectively manage vectors for animal and human diseases like flies, ticks and rats, to keep their own families and their animals healthy.
”We are proud to have worked with Elanco to help quantify the social impact of the EAGA initiative, which aims at improving livestock production and farmer’s income in Africa,” said Nikos Avlonas, CSE President.