Tick-related diseases cost Uganda $1.1 billion. This is according to new statistics released by academic journal ScienceDirect.
The issue is so alarming that the Global Alliance for Livestock Veterinary Medicines (GALVmed) formed a partnership with Elanco Animal Health to manage ticks and tick-related disease across Africa. The initiative is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
“Managing Animal Health and Acaricides for a Better Africa (Mahaba) aims to support small-scale producers in Nigeria and Uganda by defining and implementing strategies to effectively control tick infestations in cattle,” GALVmed said via a statement.
It added that Elanco brought a comprehensive acaricide portfolio in affordable small pack sizes together with expertise on tick control to local livestock producers.
“Additionally, Elanco commits to bringing its comprehensive product portfolio for cattle and poultry to Nigeria, opening a new market for the company.
“GALVmed on the other hand, will leverage its practical knowledge and understanding of the small-scale livestock producer sector to contribute to the initiative’s outcome of increasing uptake of improved products, services and practices by small-scale producers.”
Empowering small-scale farmers
Mahaba said high-quality acaricides and innovative tools would empower small-scale producers to successfully tackle the impact of ticks as well as prevent tick-borne diseases.
“This will help farmers raise healthier animals, grow their farms’ efficiency and output and eventually allows them to make better returns on their investments,” explained Carolin Schumacher, GALVmed’s chief executive.
Elanco initially launched another shared value initiative in East Africa called the East Africa Growth Accelerator. This provides the region’s cattle farmers with solutions to address the issue of acaricide resistance. Acaricides are pesticides aimed at killing off ticks and mites, who form part of the arachnid family.
“At Elanco, our relentless commitment to making a positive change in the world is core to our purpose. We are proud to continue delivering an important contribution to African livestock communities, improving animal health and food security for local families.
“That’s why we are continuing to drive our shared value blueprint and look forward to expanding our impact on small farming operations,” said Ramiro Cabral, executive vice president and president of Elanco International.
Livestock husbandry is a vital aspect of securing the livelihoods of communities in Sub-Saharan Africa, providing nutritious food and a significant source of money for rising populations.
Ticks infest an estimated 80% of cattle in Nigeria and up to 98% of cattle in Uganda, endangering animal health and welfare, reducing animal productivity, and putting a huge financial burden on livestock managers.
Using acaricides to prevent tick infestations is now the sole effective approach; however, existing treatment choices are usually expensive. The misuse of products can also lead to resistance and treatment failure.
The alliance introduces innovative ways to reduce tick infestations through Mahaba, preventing loss of livestock productivity and making a significant contribution to the region’s long-term food production.
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