Elanco Animal Health and Heifer International are marking a 10-year milestone in their mission to break the cycle of hunger. Since 2008, Elanco and its employees have joined forces to give nearly $5 million to Heifer International’s efforts to achieve food security across the globe.
Through eight projects, Elanco and Heifer International have created more access to meat, milk, and eggs through placing 35,600 animals, including cows, swine, poultry, goats, sheep, and chickens in Zambia, Cambodia, India, China, Ecuador, and Bangladesh. In addition to animals, the partnership has provided more than 10,000 hours of training to help farmers improve animal care practices, improve family nutrition, strengthen communities, and better protect natural resources. The result: more than 160,000 families in emerging regions are more food secure.
“Increasing the availability and quality of nutrition – particularly protein – is essential, especially in areas with the greatest need,” said Pierre Ferrari, Heifer International CEO. “World Hunger Day gives us a chance to pause and reflect on the progress we’ve made with Elanco to date, but we must drive toward new opportunities to continue empowering people toward food security.”
The Elanco and Heifer International relationship aligns with Elanco’s vision of the power food has to enrich lives and Elanco’s commitment to shared value.
“We’ve seen the difference giving livestock makes in the lives of families,” said Jeff Simmons, president Elanco. “Access to innovation and training for farmers in emerging countries makes real, sustainable change. One farmer, one animal at a time, we have transformed communities’ nutrition and health, while reducing poverty and restoring human dignity.”
The impact of the work Elanco and Heifer International have done together goes far beyond just providing food to families in need. The Elanco-supported projects focus on building sustainable, lasting progress toward food security, often empowering women and other underserved populations.
In Zambia, for example, the Elanco and Heifer International project has shown the gift of livestock improves food security, adds protein and diversity to the diet, increases income and reduces the potential of poverty for participating families. The project introduced goats, cattle, and dairy cows into a livestock-scarce region of the country.
The project participants realized:
- a 200 to 800 percent increase in income from animal products.
- a 20 percent increase in the variety of foods in the diet, which helps improve nutrient adequacy.
- a 12 percent increase in diet diversity for nearby households, even without receiving livestock.
- 85 percent of families investing in children’s education vs a baseline of 10 percent.
- original households receiving animals increased their resiliency and were 88 percent less likely than control households to fall into asset poverty.
- among those who received dairy cows, a six liter per week increase in milk consumption.
Over five years of the project, the families involved in the program who are food secure year-round rose from zero to 83 percent.
Elanco also works with Heifer International and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation on the East Africa Dairy Development (EADD) program, which is boosting milk yields and incomes of small-scale farmers in Africa to help lift families and communities out of food insecurity and poverty.
EADD trains the 136,000 participating families on dairy husbandry, business practices and operation, and marketing of dairy products, while also creating the needed infrastructure to market more milk. In its first five years, Heifer and its partners developed 27 milk collection hubs, strengthened 10 existing hubs and formed 68 farmer business associations to manage the plants.
“World Hunger Day creates the opportunity to discuss how we end hunger in our lifetime. We have to transition from food relief to food security, and Heifer is a great example of how,” Simmons said. “Creating sustained food security must be built on the mindset of investment, not simply donations and grants. When we collaborate across sectors and employ the right training and systems, we can create long-term development and value that can be sustained and replicated for other farms and communities.”
Elanco continues to identify opportunities to help farmers improve sustainable food production and advance food security and nutrition. Aquaculture will play a key role in the future, as fish are expected to be among the fastest growing animal protein sources. But with limited natural stocks, farmed fish can be a long-term, sustainable solution.
In recognition of World Hunger Day, Simmons will personally match contributions made to Heifer International between now and June 8. His total goal of $10,000 can break the cycle of hunger for 100 Cambodian families by providing the fish fingerlings, supplies and training to help them establish aquaculture. Follow him @JeffSimmons2050 for more and donate here.
Today, roughly a third of Cambodians live on less than $1.25 a day and experience one of the highest rates of malnutrition in Asia. Fish is their primary source of protein. Providing fish and improving aquaculture practices brings the old saying to life: teach a man to fish and feed him for a lifetime.