A Research-Driven Model Leading to Healthier Animals and Safer Animal-Sourced Foods
My name is Dr. Victor Nsereko and I work for Cargill as the Transformational Strategies for Farm Output Risk Mitigation (TRANSFORM) research portfolio manager. I joined TRANSFORM following more than a decade of research and development (R&D) and product development roles at Cargill, focused on animal health and reducing the risk of food borne pathogens. More information about the project is below.
The USAID TRANSFORM activity is built upon a scalable, market-driven model that is being tested in Kenya, Indonesia, India and Vietnam. Led by Cargill, the TRANSFORM consortium includes Ausvet, the International Poultry Council and Heifer International. This group brings a robust approach to utilizing animal agriculture to address human health risks created by antimicrobial resistance (AMR), zoonoses and transboundary animal disease (TAD). This private-sector-focused consortium brings diverse, multistakeholder business acumen, resources, commercial incentives and local networks that will help contribute to a competitive market.
Research is an overall theme for TRANSFORM across two major areas:
First, research is being conducted in Vietnam and Indonesia to build an all-sector animal health data system that will improve capacity of farmers to make decisions for animal health, as well as improve the overall surveillance in a region/country. Ausvet is leading this work. Details and lessons of this research will be shared with this community in the future when it becomes available.
The second is on-farm research focused on animal health. This research spans small- to large-scale farms across all four target countries and is led by Cargill. This work includes extensive on-farm biosafety and management training, as well as testing in-feed interventions focused on animal health. Varied across each implementing country, research will focus on poultry, shrimp, swine and dairy production systems that provide the greatest opportunity for positive impact on improving animal health in a way that reduces risk to human health. For example, poultry research will be conducted in all countries in a manner that represents all major breeds and production systems, because poultry production represents a significant use of antimicrobials, a notable potential risk of emerging zoonoses (such as avian influenza) and a substantial source of nutritional protein. TRANSFORM’s research is focused on shrimp in Indonesia, India and Vietnam; dairy in Kenya and India; and swine in Vietnam. Our initial research focus will be on the impact of a category of in-feed interventions called Saccharomyces cerevisiae fermentation products (SCFP) that have been shown to support immune function in animals ranging from shrimp, poultry, swine and ruminants to human beings, rendering them healthier and better able to stave off the challenges outlined in TRANSFORM’s goals.
Armed with peer-reviewed knowledge on SCFP, we are establishing cross-sector, in-country-led research projects with universities, research institutes and commercial farms designed to establish efficacy in the different business models that these four countries represent. The outcome of this research will be published in peer-reviewed journals, trade journals and other relevant outlets so that learnings can be disseminated and used widely. Long-term outcomes of the on-farm animal health research will be systemically linked to other parts of TRANSFORM, such as the on-farm training for small and larger farms and antimicrobial use stewardship activities. The goal of the all-sector data system is to measure behavior change and, most importantly, have the data needed for farmers and other stakeholders to make critical animal health decisions. Connecting the research to other activities of TRANSFORM and building a more resilient market will lead to improved access to safe, sustainable, animal-sourced protein.
Interested in learning more? Contact me at: Victor_Nsereko@Cargill.com.