USA, Washington. The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has tapped a consortium led by Cargill and including Ausvet, Heifer International, and the International Poultry Council (IPC) to improve livestock management and combat the threat of zoonotic diseases to both human and animal health.
The five-year, $33 million Transformational Strategies for Farm Output Risk Mitigation (Transform) consortium will harness innovation to sustainably improve animal health, strengthen animal agriculture production systems in Asia and Africa and enhance global health security, said USAID.
As a farm-based initiative, Transform will prioritize efforts to significantly decrease the risks of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and zoonoses , 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. 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.
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.
Transform will work in several key geographies, on large and small farms, with a variety of species. Beginning in 2022, Cargill will conduct nutrition and immune health trials on dairy, poultry, shrimp and swine operations in four countries throughout Asia and Africa to better understand and quantify the role holistic animal nutrition can play in reducing the threats of zoonotic diseases to human health.