AFRICA – The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has launched a five-year US$33 million Transformational Strategies for Farm Output Risk Mitigation (TRANSFORM) initiative, aimed to improve livestock management and combat the threat of zoonotic diseases to both human and animal health in the region.
USAID has tapped on the expertise of a consortium of industry players led by Cargill and including Ausvet, Heifer International, and the International Poultry Council (IPC).
The initiative will harness innovation to sustainably improve animal health, strengthen animal agriculture production systems in Africa and Asia and enhance global health security.
As a farm-based initiative, TRANSFORM will prioritize efforts to significantly decrease the risks of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and zoonosesii, diseases spread from animals to humans such as foodborne pathogens, anthrax and Avian and swine influenza.
The group will also consider transboundary animal diseases (TADs,) such as foot-and-mouth disease and African swine fever, indicates USAID.
“We’re honored to have been selected to lead this important work and are confident that Cargill’s global reach and research capabilities, combined with our partners’ unique expertise and influence in animal agriculture, can minimize these massive threats to our global food system and to human health.”Chuck Warta – Head of Cargill Health Technologies
Scientists estimate that more than three out of five known infectious diseases in people can be spread from animals, and 75% of new or emerging infectious diseases in people come from animals.
Smallholder farmers around the world are particularly vulnerable to transboundary animal diseases, with livestock representing their main source of food and income, and access to veterinary services often limited.
The program set to commence in 2022, comes at a time that Nigeria has recorded catastrophic losses in the poultry industry amounting to over US$13m in Kano State, following an outbreak of Avian Influenza, with reported cases of human infections across the country.
Together, Cargill, Ausvet, Heifer International and the IPC will increase the capacity of government, agribusinesses, and farmers to prevent and, if needed, identify and quickly respond to these threats to human health.
By working through animal agriculture markets and supply chains and showing how changes to production processes can increase farmers’ incomes, TRANSFORM aims to bring about long-lasting change within the livestock sector in Africa and Asia.
“We know that agriculture can help solve some of the world’s most pressing challenges,” said Chuck Warta, head of Cargill Health Technologies.
“We’re honored to have been selected to lead this important work and are confident that Cargill’s global reach and research capabilities, combined with our partners’ unique expertise and influence in animal agriculture, can minimize these massive threats to our global food system and to human health,” he added.
Roles by each player under TRANSFORM
Cargill being the lead partner will conduct nutrition and immune health trials on dairy, poultry, shrimp and swine operations in four countries throughout Asia and Africa.
This is aimed to better understand and quantify the role holistic animal nutrition can play in reducing the threats of zoonotic diseases to human health.
Ausvet will expand its health information system to serve farms of all sizes in Indonesia and Vietnam.
The group will collect real-time data and insights on disease occurrence, vaccination programs, and antibiotic usage so farmers, governments and industries can make data-driven decisions to maintain and improve animal health and its connection to human health.
Increased profitability for farmers will be key to TRANSFORM’s long-term impact. Heifer International will work with smallholder farmers in India and Kenya to improve biosecurity and animal management and health, with the added benefit of increasing farmer incomes.
IPC on the other hand will lead the development and adoption of industry-wide principles, policies and standards around antimicrobial stewardship within the poultry industry.
The key to the consortium’s success will be developing and implementing innovative and market-driven solutions that increase access to safe, affordable, high quality animal-sourced nutrition while improving global human health security.
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