More businesses are continuing to put sustainability at the top of their mission goals. One of the latest movements made by our industry is the formation of a new initiative. 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.
“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.”
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. According to the release, 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 percent of new or emerging infectious diseases in people come from animals, stated the release. 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.
“Smallholder farmers produce the majority of the world’s food. By equipping them with tools to improve animal management and biosecurity, we are supporting the production of safe, healthy food that improves nutrition, while preventing the spread of pathogens that threaten global human health,” said Pierre Ferrari, President and CEO of Heifer International. “Heifer International is working with community veterinarians to embed knowledge of new practices into the services they provide and supporting farmers to access finance, incentivizing sustainable adoption of biosecurity practices by small-scale livestock producers.”
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.
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.
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.
For more information on the consortium, click here for the full press release.
How will our industry continue to adapt and innovate to bring the best products and services forward? Keep checking back as we report.