Elanco is continuing its work to bring 100,000 families out of hunger globally through the initial placement of goats and draft cattle in two communities in Zambia this week.
Through Elanco’s partnership with Heifer International, 680 families in Zambia will be assisted through the initial placement of animals and training in integrated livestock management, health and hygiene and enterprise development. In Mpongwe, residents received 140 goats; and 42 draft cattle were provided to residents of the Masaiti community. Ultimately, 6,210 families will directly benefit from this project.
“With 25,000 people dying each day from hunger and malnutrition, we in agriculture must focus on delivering a safe, affordable and abundant food supply,” said Jeff Simmons, president of Elanco. “From our perspective, that means farmers globally need access to a variety of tools and technology, both in developing countries like Zambia and industrialized countries like the United States.”
Availability of animal sourced protein in the diet is an increasingly important issue worldwide. In the Copperbelt province, high incidence of HIV and AIDS has resulted in many households becoming more food insecure at the time when people increasingly need good nutrition, particularly high quality protein, to maintain health. The result is increasing illness and dependency for these communities.
Rebby and Mable Kaubo, from the Masaiti community anxiously anticipated the arrival of two draft heifers for more than three years while they received training in animal husbandry and health, basic record keeping and more.
Standing in front of the newly built pen containing their new heifers, and surrounded by their seven children Rebby said: “Our eyes have been opened. We did not know such simple things could change a life”. The family named the animals “Blessed” and “Gift”.
The addition of draft cattle will enable the Kaubo family to expand their cultivated land base and thus sell crops and produce to generate income. In the past, they were limited to subsistence farming as they relied on hand hoes to plough their land and did not have the time or tools to expand beyond one hectare.
Illness, food insecurity, and dependency are problems that stretch the natural resources of communities in the Copperbelt province living in poverty. There are many factors that contribute to the problem of malnutrition and hunger in this region:
• Food insecurity in the area is high due to low agricultural productivity
• Limited agricultural and veterinary extension
• Limited ability of resource-poor families to own livestock
• Poor health, hygiene and sanitation practices
• Inadequate capacity of official health and social services to engage in outreach
• High levels of deforestation
• Poor marketing structures
• High incidence of HIV and AIDS
Elanco’s Zambia project will address these challenges. The placement of food and income-generating livestock will help expand the resources of those living in communities like Masaiti and Mpongwe.
Elanco’s hunger initiative, with significant funding from the Lilly Foundation, is an extension of Eli Lilly and Company’s overall corporate responsibility efforts, which also include: improving the health of underserved people, improving U.S. public education, supporting people and communities through United Way and similar efforts, and environmental stewardship.
To read more about the recipient communities and animal placement, visit www.plentytothinkabout.org.