Elanco Animal Health, a division of Eli Lilly & Co., announced May 24 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, knows about the struggle with 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 Animal Health president Jeffrey N. Simmons said, "Elanco is a cause-driven organization, and our vision of 'Food & 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."
"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," added 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 U.N. Food & Agriculture Organization (FAO), 32% of the people in East Africa are undernourished, and 40% of those living in sub-Saharan Africa are living on less than $1.25 per day. In East Africa, 18% 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.
Elanco provides comprehensive products and knowledge services to improve animal health and food animal production in more than 70 countries worldwide.