Zoetis receives $15.3M grant to improve livestock health in Africa

Zoetis announced in March that the company received a $15.3 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to further develop and integrate solutions to advance veterinary care and diagnostic services to improve livestock health and productivity in sub-Saharan Africa.

The grant will help Zoetis to expand its original African Livestock Productivity and Health Advancement (ALPHA) initiative to include aquaculture in addition to cattle, poultry, and swine, in an additional seven countries in sub-Saharan Africa. The new, five-year ALPHA Plus initiative aims to improve animal health and food security in some of the most rapidly developing regions in the world.

This new funding will accelerate access to veterinary products and services and diagnostic tools to increase the productivity of smallholder farms, with a particular focus on supporting female farmers.

A woman smiles as she milks a cow. Zoetis is expanding its African Livestock Productivity and Health Advancement (ALPHA) initiative with help from a $15.3 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. (Courtesy of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation)

The company’s first ALPHA initiative began in 2017 in Ethiopia, Nigeria, and Uganda and later expanded into Tanzania. ALPHA Plus will focus on dairy and beef production, poultry, and aquaculture in these countries as well as Kenya, Ivory Coast, and five additional markets in eastern, western, and central sub-Saharan Africa.

With the new grant, Zoetis will seek to improve animal health and farmers’ livelihoods through enhanced training—with a target to train 100,000 stakeholders by 2025. There will be a strong focus on gender diversity, including women-led, female-only training courses designed to maximize attendance.

The grant will enable Zoetis to further develop distribution and training models for last-mile networks to bring products to final destinations, build disease diagnostic services through laboratory networks in cooperation with public and private local partners, and develop outcomes research and digital services.

Through the initiative, Zoetis also will explore opportunities to accelerate and increase fish production in Lake Victoria and Lake Volta. With tilapia being one of the fastest-growing animal protein sources in emerging markets, facilitating tilapia’s geographic expansion and scalability can have a positive impact on sustainable nutrition and economic growth in the region.

Through ALPHA Plus, co-funded by Zoetis and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Zoetis will collaborate with government authorities, local veterinary associations, national and international nongovernmental organizations, farmer associations, and the public and private sector.

Over the course of the five-year program, Zoetis seeks to build on the progress and key learnings from the initial ALPHA initiative to deliver a long-term sustainable business model and animal health infrastructure for livestock farmers in the wider sub-Saharan Africa region.