Thursday, 20 October 2011

Pfizer Animal Health and the Resource Foundation Expand Initiative to Increase Productivity of Small Family Farms in Latin America and India

Pfizer Animal Health and The Resource Foundation announced today the expansion of a comprehensive education and training program to increase the capacity, productivity and quality of life of rural farmers in eight Latin American countries. Plans call for tailoring the program to the needs of rural communities in India. The agreement was guided by results of a decade-long collaboration also announced today.
Pfizer Animal Health and the Pfizer Foundation have committed $460,000 in 2011 to this program, which will involve more than 3,000 farmers and their families in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Mexico and Peru as well as 7,250 farmers and their families through the program’s expansion to India’s Madhya Pradesh, Mathura, Orissa, Uttar Pratesh, and Rajasthan states.
Improving animal health is crucial in rural communities where farming is the economic engine. For small family farms with only a few animals, the loss of just one animal to disease can threaten the well-being of the entire family. Through this integrated educational initiative, farmers at the base of the economic pyramid acquire advanced animal husbandry skills while each family member also learns basic personal health and hygiene skills. To implement the program, Pfizer Animal Health and The Resource Foundation partner with local economic and agricultural development organizations, local universities, and local government agencies.
“A significant reason why small rural livestock farmers do not improve their economic status is that they lack training to efficiently produce, administer and sell their milk, beef, and eggs,” said Marcela Lopez-Macedonio, executive director, The Resource Foundation, which is based in New York. She said persistent poverty can lead to a cascade of hardships, namely malnutrition and limited, if any, access to basic health services or education. “Pfizer Animal Health is the natural partner for this collaboration due to the company’s tremendous knowledge base and experience in animal health and the relationship between animal health and human well-being. Pfizer’s significant Animal Health presence in Latin America and in Asia improves our capacity to transfer best practices from countries such as Chile and Peru to India and bring a positive impact to thousands more farm families.”
“Animal health and human health are closely connected,” said Joyce Lee, area president – Canada and Latin America Region, Pfizer Animal Health. Lee noted that a safe, nutritious supply of protein from milk, eggs, and meat begins with healthy livestock animals. Moreover, approximately 70 percent of the diseases known to affect humans are zoonotic, meaning they are transmitted between animals and humans. “As a world leader in animal health, we believe we have a responsibility to help elevate the capacity of all livestock producers, whether they are subsistence livestock farmers or larger professional livestock producers. Healthy animals help to improve the health, nutrition and well-being of people in developing communities. Our collaboration with The Resource Foundation allows us to act on that responsibility, amplify our impact, and demonstrate our commitment as a trusted partner to livestock farmers worldwide.”
Since its inception, the collaboration with The Resource Foundation has benefited more than 13,000 rural, low-income farmers in 100 communities throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. Learning modern farming practices has had a direct effect on improving the quality of life of more than 50,000 individuals, according to results data from the past 10 years of program collaboration.
The Goat School Project has benefited more than 1,000 goat-farming families from 19 communities in Brazil’s arid Bahia region. The initiative, started in 2001, enables small farms to raise goats and aims to decrease child labor, increase the income of families and combat malnutrition. Since the project began, the child malnutrition rate has decreased 47 percent and families have increased their income by 30 percent. In addition, more than 3,000 children have remained in school because their farm labor was no longer needed.
Since 2008, nearly 500 farming families in Antioquia, Colombia received technical training in beef and dairy production, helping them improve animal health, benefit from genetic-trait-based breeding techniques, and enhance production efficiency. Participants moved from subsistence to income-generation, qualifying them to receive government and bank funding needed to expand their businesses.
In Peru’s Chumbivilcas province, 1,600 farmers of cows, sheep and alpacas succeeded within 18 months in considerably reducing the principal gastrointestinal, pulmonary and liver parasites and have eradicated symptomatic anthrax. This helped improve animal health which, in turn, has increased incomes of families in the province.

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