World Food Program USA and the Zoetis Foundation: Advancing Climate Resiliency to Support Thriving Farmer Livelihoods

Photo: WFP/Michael Tewelde/2022
World Food Program USA
Published November 15, 2023

Farmers worldwide play a fundamental role in ensuring food security, bolstering economies and helping advance sustainable agricultural practices. As we confront challenges related to climate change and meet rising food and nutrition needs, it’s critical to understand how improved animal health and productivity can help enhance farmer livelihoods and contribute to achieving climate goals.

In its continued commitment to advance farmer livelihoods around the world, the Zoetis Foundation supports World Food Program USA in helping the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) address food insecurity and close the gap in the delivery of financial and veterinary services to livestock farmers in Ethiopia and Kenya.

The Zoetis Foundation will provide $1.2 million in grant funding over two years to establish a U.N. World Food Programme signature program to benefit an estimated 160,000 livestock farmers in Ethiopia and Kenya by providing access to financial and veterinary services, which will help them keep their animals healthy during and after drought periods. The initiative will also provide capacity-building support for an estimated 350 veterinary service providers.

“As extreme weather and rising global temperatures exacerbate impacts on livestock health, and thus farmer livelihoods, advancing access to veterinary care is more important than ever,” says Jeannette Ferran Astorga, president of the Zoetis Foundation and executive vice president, Corporate Affairs, Communications and Sustainability at Zoetis. “The Foundation is pleased to support World Food Program USA to improve the health of livestock, which can ultimately improve farmer livelihoods and resilience in sub-Saharan Africa.”

The initiative aims to provide an integrated model for the distribution of livestock insurance and increased access to veterinary services to enhance resilience against drought and improve the livelihoods of pastoralist communities. The innovative program collaborates with local businesses by building financial safety nets and enhancing veterinary and agricultural support for rural pastoralists. Since insurance services became available in September, the U.N. World Food Programme has already seen more than 4,700 farmers sign up to participate in the program.

“Livestock is the principal source of livelihoods for pastoralists and millions more in the Horn of Africa,” said Barron Segar, president and CEO, World Food Program USA. “While drought caused by the climate crisis exacerbates food insecurity, we’re helping to equip communities with the tools and resources needed to thrive.”

Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) is home to remarkable growth in our world’s livestock population while also experiencing some of the highest human population growth rates. Two-thirds of the global extreme poor population live in SSA and many rely on small-scale farming as their main source of livelihood, with livestock providing up to 45% of these families’ total income. Ensuring access to quality animal healthcare and productivity resources is vital to protecting not only these farmers’ livelihoods, but also the economic security of the region.

Additional initiatives funded by the Zoetis Foundation to help strengthen the farmer profession and healthy livestock in Africa include:

  • Livestock Industry Foundation for Africa (LIFA): In its second year of funding, LIFA continues to carry out a public lectures series aimed at upskilling poultry farm technical teams, while expanding their existing work in Nigeria and West Africa to six additional countries.
  • Uganda Crane Creameries Cooperative Union Limited (UCCCU): In its second year of funding, UCCCU continues to establish farmer-led systems and tools that enhance the productivity, production, and incomes of small-scale dairy farmers in southwestern Uganda.
  • Veterinarians Without Borders (VWB): VWB enhances the food security and livelihood resilience of livestock farmers in South Sudan by selecting community animal health workers and veterinary doctors to provide several key services, including vaccination and direct outreach to farmers in remote areas.

Click here to learn more about our partnership with the Zoetis Foundation. To learn more about how the Zoetis Foundation supports farmer and veterinary livelihoods, read their previous spotlights featuring the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (U.S.) and Instituto Biosistêmico (Brazil).