LastMile, an initiative to train smallholder farmers (SHFs) in Nigeria and others in Africa on the prevention of animal diseases and leverage access to veterinary medicine, has reached more than 40,000 farmers in six countries. The LastMile initiative aims to bridge the gap in access, availability, and awareness of animal healthcare solutions in hard-to-reach areas. This improves productivity and income generation, hence ensuring food security and livelihood for the local communities.
LastMile, launched in 2018, is an initiative by Boehringer Ingelheim, in partnership with the Global Alliance for Livestock Veterinary Medicines (GALVmed) and funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF). It supports smallholder farmers in Kenya, Cameroon, Nigeria, Mali, Burkina Faso, and Ethiopia, and has enabled 56 product registrations in these countries as well as Uganda and Tanzania. By increasing the number of registered products, Boehringer Ingelheim facilitates access to more treatment options for farmers and veterinarians.
The Project Lead for Last- Mile at Boehringer Ingelheim, Tiago Teixeira, said: “LastMile is a sustainable model for smallholder farmers with a positive impact on vulnerable communities. It supports our commitment towards improving the health and wellbeing of animals by increasing disease awareness and improving access to animal medicine.” Animal technicians from local communities play a crucial role in demonstrating product usage and providing education to smallholder farmers. More than 20 animal technicians held close to 20,000 farm visits and consulted more than 17,000 agricultural retail shops on how to optimize product availability and shelving. Furthermore, during more than 8,600 visits to veterinarians, animal technicians provided them with information and training on prevention and treatment options.
The Head of Sustainable Development – For Generations at Boehringer Ingelheim India, Middle East, Turkey and Africa, Ayman Eissa, said: “At Boehringer Ingelheim, we are committed to address global health challenges in developing countries and improve animal health. “With our LastMile initiative, we aim to strengthen smallholder farmers’ income and productivity, highlight the importance of disease prevention to ensure food security, and drive sustainable businesses that are integrated into the wider economy in Africa.”