The Global Alliance for Livestock Veterinary Medicines (GALVmed) has announced a five-year, $40 million commitment from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in support of efforts to help smallholder farmers in Africa and South Asia.
Announced in conjunction with the UK government's investments in livestock research, the investment in GALVmed, a public-private partnership based in Edinburgh, will support efforts to develop livestock vaccines, medicines, and diagnostics and make them more accessible to and affordable for millions of the poorest smallholder farmers. While more than 1.3 billion people depend on livestock for their livelihoods, fully a quarter of the animals owned by poor farmers are lost to preventable and treatable illnesses, reducing farmers' incomes and in some cases posing serious risks to human health.
"For over a billion people living in the world's poorest countries, agriculture and livestock are a lifeline out of poverty," said Gates Foundation co-chair Bill Gates. "The science and research being led by the great minds here in Edinburgh are making huge strides in improving the health and productivity of livestock. With this investment in GALVmed, we can take advantage of...leading R and D capabilities to fight the spread of livestock diseases, both protecting animals in the developing world and here in the UK."
"The challenges for smallholder farmers are numerous," said GALVmed chief executive Peter Jeffries. "With the new funding, we expect to offer simpler solutions to their needs through an enhanced portfolio of high impact products and improved distribution networks, offering improved control of livestock diseases."