Farmers around the world play a key role in ensuring food security, strengthening economies and helping to develop sustainable agricultural practices. As we face the challenges of climate change and respond to growing food and nutrition needs, it is critical to understand how improved animal health and productivity can help improve farmers’ livelihoods and contribute to achieving climate aims.
In its ongoing commitment to improving the livelihoods of farmers around the world, the Zoetis Foundation supports the US World Food Program in helping the United Nations World Food Program (WFP) address food insecurity and close the gap in providing financial and veterinary services to livestock farmers in Ethiopia and Kenya.
The Zoetis Foundation will provide $1.2 million in grant funding over two years to establish a signature program of the United Nations World Food Program to benefit approximately 160,000 livestock farmers in Ethiopia and Kenya by providing access to financial and veterinary services that will help them keep their animals healthy during and after periods of drought. The initiative will also provide capacity building support to around 350 veterinary service providers.
“As extreme weather and rising global temperatures exacerbate the impact on livestock health and thus on farmers’ livelihoods, improving access to veterinary care is more important than ever,” said Jeanette Ferran Astorga, president of the Zoetis Foundation and executive vice president, corporate affairs, communications and sustainability at Zoetis. “The Foundation is pleased to support the US World Food Program to improve livestock health, which can ultimately improve the livelihoods and sustainability of farmers 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 increase drought resilience and improve the livelihoods of pastoralist communities. The innovative program collaborates with local businesses by building financial safety nets and improving veterinary and agricultural support for rural pastoralists. Since insurance services became available in September, the UN World Food Program has already seen more than 4,700 farmers sign up for the program.
“Livestock is the primary source of livelihood for pastoralists and millions of others in the Horn of Africa,” said Baron Segar, president and CEO of the US World Food Program. “As drought caused by the climate crisis exacerbates food insecurity, we are helping to equip communities with the tools and resources they need to thrive.”
Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) is home to a remarkable increase in the world’s livestock population, while experiencing some of the highest human population growth rates. Two-thirds of the global extreme poor live in SSA, and many rely on small-scale agriculture as their main source of livelihood, with livestock providing up to 45% of total income for these families. Ensuring access to quality animal health care and productive resources is vital to protecting not only the livelihoods of these farmers, but also the economic security of the region.
Additional initiatives funded by the Zoetis Foundation to help strengthen the farming profession and healthy livestock in Africa include:
- Livestock Industry Foundation for Africa (LIFA): In its second year of funding, LIFA continues to deliver a series of public lectures aimed at upskilling poultry farm technical teams, while 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 create farmer-led systems and tools that increase the productivity, production and incomes of smallholder dairy farmers in southwestern Uganda.
- Vets Without Borders (VWB): VWB is improving food security and livelihood sustainability for livestock keepers in South Sudan by recruiting veterinary workers and veterinarians to provide several key services, including vaccination and direct access to farmers in remote areas.
Click here to learn more about our partnership with the Zoetis Foundation. To learn more about how the Zoetis Foundation supports the livelihoods of farmers and veterinarians, read their previous spotlights, including the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (US) and the Instituto Biosistêmico (Brazil).