Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC) with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Global Affairs Canada (GAC), launched their Livestock Vaccine Innovation Fund (LVIF).
This 5.5-year, $57 million partnership will improve the health of livestock and the livelihoods of farmers. It will spark the discovery of new vaccines and delivery methods for neglected livestock diseases. Existing vaccines will also be made more accessible, safer, and affordable for small-scale farmers in sub-Saharan Africa and South and South East Asia – two-thirds of whom are women.
Livestock provide both income and nutrition for more than 1 billion farmers globally including 300 million poor livestock keepers and their families. Livestock also provide a source of social and economic well-being for farmers’ families in sub-Saharan Africa and South and South East Asia. For example, they provide milk and eggs for sale, collateral for loans, and savings for emergencies. Healthy livestock help to reverse the cycle of poverty. However, one quarter of the animals owned by poor livestock keepers die from disease. Those diseases that do not lead to death can result in decreased productivity or can be passed on to humans, causing serious illness or death.
The fund will focus on developing innovative solutions for neglected livestock diseases. Vaccine researchers will work with manufacturers and distributors to develop and bring to market safe, affordable and effective vaccines.
“This important fund will have a direct impact on some of the poorest and most vulnerable people across Africa and Asia. Two thirds of small-scale farmers are hardworking women and we will continue to support them as part of our global commitment to empower women across the world,” said the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of International Development and La Francophonie. “The livelihood of hundreds of millions of farmers rests on the health of their animals. Ensuring the health of their livestock through affordable animal vaccines is the type of innovative program that will lift families out of poverty and eradicate hunger. Canada is proud to partner with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to bring long-lasting change in the lives of these rural communities.”
“Healthy livestock is critical to improving farmers’ livelihoods and making sure communities have enough nutritious food to eat,” says IDRC President, Jean Lebel. “This fund, which brings together the know-how of farmers with scientific evidence from research, represents a significant contribution to improving the livelihoods of millions of small-scale farmers in Africa and Asia.”