Global animal health company Elanco Animal Health Incorporated and Farm Radio International (FRI) have partnered to produce a 13-week series of radio programs designed to support and educate small-scale livestock farmers in North Tanzania to manage the challenges around livestock health and wellbeing, supporting a drive to greater food security, livestock health and care in the region.
FRI and Elanco are working closely with local radio stations – Sauti ya Injili and Loliondo FM – to produce a short series of interactive radio programs, enabling listeners to make informed decisions, and have access to relevant animal health care products and training.
The project aims to use radio to reach a widespread, rural population which has little access to agricultural services and reaching women who are crucial in livestock keeping. At the same time, FRI supports and develops the local broadcasters with training support during the production and airing phases of the agricultural programs.
Elanco’s support of the radio campaign with FRI forms part of a ground-breaking project to provide sustainable development solutions to address food insecurity in East African countries – Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda.
The East Africa Growth Accelerator (EAGA) is Elanco’s first pure ‘Shared Value’ project which is made possible through a $3.1 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
The grant enables the registration, manufacturing and distribution of affordable high-quality veterinary products, along with intensive training initiatives for smallholder farmers and channel partners.
“By working with FRI, Elanco aims to support improved animal husbandry and health practices and effect behavior change by sharing information through the powerful medium of radio. The 13-week series will focus on knowledge transfer on disease awareness, prevention and treatment, including important topics such as fly, tick and rodent control, Coccidiosis, Mycoplasmosis, poultry vaccination and product training facilitated by Elanco,” explains Maria Zampaglione, Elanco One Health and Shared Value advisor and project leader.
Livestock disease remains a significant threat to achieving food security in East Africa where currently 25 percent of protein from farm animals is lost due to animal illness, reducing the supply of high-quality milk, meat and eggs and creating significant economic losses for farmers.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations (UN), 34 percent of the people in East Africa are undernourished.
“We think that radio presents a major opportunity to scale the important work of Elanco on livestock keeping. We really want to go beyond a simple one-way radio broadcast and instead build the capacity of local radio stations to produce interactive radio programs that are truly entertaining, two-way, and practical for the listening audience. We know livestock health is a topic that is crucial to the North of Tanzania and we are thrilled to have programs on the air to support small-scale livestock farmers in the region,” says Mark Leclair, Farm Radio International’s Manager of Communications.
Elanco’s goal through EAGA is to enable more than 240,000 dairy and poultry smallholder farmers to access small sized quality products by 2020.
The grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates foundation further helps achieve this goal of improving the lives of smallholder farmers through sustainable livestock production.