LastMile Initiative reaches over 40,000 smallholder farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa

LastMile, an initiative by Boehringer Ingelheim to train smallholder farmers in Africa on the prevention of animal diseases and access to veterinary medicine, has reached more than 40,000 farmers in six countries.

The initiative aims to bridge the gap (“last mile”) in access, availability, and awareness of animal healthcare solutions in hard-to-reach areas.

According to its administrators, this initiative will improve productivity and income generation, ensuring food security and livelihood for the local communities.

“LastMile is a sustainable model for smallholder farmers with a positive impact on vulnerable communities,” Tiago Teixeira, project lead for LastMile at Boehringer Ingelheim said.

“It supports our commitment to improving the health and well-being of animals by increasing disease awareness and improving access to animal medicine,” Teixeira added.

LastMile was launched in 2018 in partnership with the Global Alliance for Livestock Veterinary Medicines and funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

It supports smallholder farmers in Kenya, Cameroon, Nigeria, Mali, Burkina Faso, and Ethiopia.

It has also enabled 56 product registrations in these countries as well as Uganda and Tanzania to facilitate access to more treatment options for farmers and veterinarians.

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Teixeira explained that animal technicians from local communities are playing crucial roles in demonstrating product usage and providing education to smallholder farmers on prevention and treatment options.
According to a statement made available to BusinessDay, “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.”

Ayman Eissa, head of sustainable development – For Generations at Boehringer Ingelheim India, Middle East, Turkey, and Africa said the pharmaceutical company is committed to addressing global health challenges in developing countries and improving 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,” Eissa said.