Case study: Strengthening farmers’ access to livestock inputs in Ghana

It is estimated that livestock disease in Africa costs more than nine billion dollars per annum (Grace et al 2015), not including productivity losses or its impact on human health. Small-scale livestock producers lose an estimated 25% of their livestock every year to diseases.

In rural areas of Ghana, the majority of small-scale livestock producers rely on small agrovet shops for products like feed, vaccines and medicines. However, supply is not always guaranteed as agrovet shops routinely run out of stock, as they have to travel to big cities like Accra or Kumasi to source products. This leaves farmers at risk of losing their livestock.

Agrovets are key in the agricultural value chain as they also provide ‘extension services’, where veterinary professionals visit farmers to treat their animals.

The Global Alliance for Livestock Veterinary Medicines (GALVmed) partnered with last mile veterinary distribution company Cowtribe Technology Ltd to create a new company called TribeCo to help agrovets keep their shops well-stocked. GALVmed is providing funding for the project, and manages the project to ensure its objectives are realised.

TribeCo sources vaccines, medicines and feed from local and international manufacturers and distributes them to a network of rural agrovets to ensure a steady supply. This is done with guidance and supervision by local veterinary officials.  Tribecovet has already signed up a number of agrovets across Ghana who are now better equipped to access products.

“Buying the products from the south [of Ghana] which was difficult for us [until] we met TribeCo. They are now doing free delivery for us. Anytime we want them they are available for us”. 

Mahamudu – Veterinary medicines dealer

TribeCo uses an app called Zhulia to simplify the supply chain and help agrovets to efficiently manage their retail services. Agrovet dealers can access products from multiple suppliers and monitor their stocks to avoid running out of products. TribeCo then delivers the product to shops.

“At first we used to get our supplies every month. But with the coming of TribeCo, when you just use the Zhulia app, when you do it in the morning by evening time your goods will arrive. I think that has helped us so much and because they bring the goods free of charge… That has helped the lives of so many farmers, both livestock and then poultry.” 

Margaret – Veterinary medicines dealer

By providing uninterrupted access to livestock health products, GALVmed expects to see a significant increase in small-scale livestock producers’ productivity by avoiding economic losses caused by infectious diseases, improved livelihoods, and availability of affordable animal protein. GALVmed will monitor the impact of the project through surveys and collection of sales data.

“With the coming of TribeCo in my life it has improved a lot the lives of farmers, because there’s decrease in disease outbreaks. This has generated into increase in productivity. It has brought money into the pocket of farmers.” 

Margaret – Veterinary medicines dealer

News by Action for Animal Health. Click here to see more case studies.

Mkuza Chicks in Tanzania Partners with PREVENT to Vaccinate Day Old Chicks

Located in Pwani region to the east of Tanzania’s Dar es Salaam region, Mkuza farm is a family hatchery business which has been in operation for more than twenty years. When we visited the hatchery, employees were hard at work tending to various aspects of the business. The business mainly supplies day-old broiler and layer chicks, eggs and chicken meat across Tanzania and has a hatchery capacity of three-million day old chicks (DoC) a year.

Mary Maximambali is one of the directors of the company. She started the business with her late husband who passed away as the business was just starting its operations. She now runs the company with one of her sons. Mary says that the demand for day-old chicks has grown in Tanzania in the last few years but supply to the market remains low. Rapid population growth has increased the demand for protein rich foods like chicken and eggs, creating a demand for broilers.

Mkuza has a network of poultry farmers who buy their day-old chicks from their various distribution centers. One of the major challenges to these poultry farmers is poultry diseases, most of which are preventable through vaccination. Before the partnerships with PREVENT, Mkuza did not vaccinate the chicks at the hatchery and those who purchase have to plan their own vaccinations. The challenge, especially for small-scale farmers is that vaccinations are usually not done properly at the appropriate ages and stages in the birds’ lives thereby affecting efficacy. This could be financially crippling for a farmer, through the resulting diseases that dim return on investment.

It is for this reason that PREVENT (PRomoting and Enabling Vaccination Efficiently, Now and Tomorrow), an initiative by GALVmed and Ceva Santé Animale, has partnered with Mkuza to initiate vaccinations at the hatchery point to provide protection to the day-old chicks against major infectious poultry diseases. This will be done under the guidance of qualified veterinary officers.  Mkuza sees this as a value addition to their product which will enable them to retain and attract new customer base. PREVENT has provided the necessary equipment required for the hatchery vaccinations and will improve vaccination rooms for partner hatcheries.

Speaking at the official signing of the partnership agreement, Mary said the initiative is a major boost to their business.

“I am very happy to be part of this initiative. We have witnessed that vaccinating at the hatchery is good for other businesses and to small-scale producers,” said Mary

PREVENT aims to work with medium-size hatcheries, such as Mkuza in target countries to annually distribute more than 50 million vaccinated day-old-chicks to small-scale producers. These chicks will be effectively protected against the major infectious poultry diseases thereby improving overall flock health and boosting small-scale producers’ financial prospects.

PREVENT team officially welcomes Mkuza Director, Mrs Mary Maximambali to the initiative

 Written by Beatrice Ouma, GALVmed Senior Communications Manager