The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has given Zoetis, an animal health company, a $15.3 million grant to “further develop and integrate innovative solutions to advance veterinary care and diagnostic services that will ultimately improve livestock health and productivity in Sub-Saharan Africa,” according to a company release.1 This grant will help Zoetis expand its African Livestock Productivity and Health Advancement (ALPHA) initiative to include aquaculture in addition to cattle, poultry, and swine. It will also expand the initiative to 7 new countries in Africa.
Additionally, Zoetis aims to use this grant to increase access to veterinary products, services, and diagnostic tools to enhance the productivity of smallholder farms, with a particular focus on supporting female farmers.
“We are grateful for the grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation as we live our purpose to nurture our world and humankind by advancing care for animals in Sub-Saharan Africa, expanding our work to drive greater impact. The combination of Zoetis’ leadership in animal health and experience in forging broad collaborations in emerging markets will allow us to accelerate the advancement of animal health in the region,” said Kristin Peck, chief executive officer of Zoetis, in the release. “Access to medicines and technology will help farmers raise healthier animals, improve productivity and secure more sustainable revenue, which is critical to the economic development and well-being of the region and its population.”1
The original ALPHA initiative began in 2017 in Uganda, Nigeria, and Ethiopia and has now extend to Tanzania, Kenya, Ivory Coast, and 5 smaller markets in Africa. According to the release, tilapia is one of the fastest growing animal protein sources in emerging markets, and Zoetis aims to have it positively impact sustainable nutrition and economic growth in the region. Sub-Saharan Africa is also home to some of the largest livestock populations in the world, and the highest density of impoverished livestock farmers.2 Livestock are an essential asset to rural communities, and consequently animal health is critical to achieving food security in areas of exceptionally high animal and human disease incidence.
Zoetis expects this grant to fund a 5 year program with these development goals in mind.