Helping farmers help themselves – African Farming

There are partnerships at every level of farming, as African Farming presenter Tony Ndoro explains, but no collaboration is more far-reaching than the relationship between farmer and vet. In this bond, both parties must fully trust each another in their joint commitment to animal health and disease treatment and prevention.

Vets and farmers engage in increasingly tough environments affected by wars, climate change, hunger and the spread of diseases. Afrivet is a local animal health company forging empowering partnerships with livestock farmers by offering them access to products and the skills to apply them. It also offers training in primary animal healthcare and early disease detection and identification. 

There are times when farmers must solve difficult problems on their own, says Siyanda Mabaso, Afrivet’s learnership manager. In this case, training and implementation knowledge can save lives. The death of a single animal in a herd of 20 animals, for example, represents a significant loss (5%) to the farmer’s asset base and affects their bottom line. 

Training has a major positive impact on the farmer’s ability to keep herds and flocks healthy and to protect animals from life-threatening diseases. Farmers can get telephonic help from their vets if they know what to look for and can accurately describe the animal’s disease symptoms.

Confident communication requires high levels of trust between the farmer and the vet, as farmers tend to be particularly wary of being seen as fools and may back off from an engagement if they feel judged. 

Afrivet’s primary animal healthcare training manuals help farmers provide their animals with primary healthcare, and the organisation’s range of products facilitates disease prevention and control. This work has the potential to stop outbreaks of dread diseases like foot-and-mouth, brucellosis and Rift Valley fever, and to prevent unnecessary animal deaths with the accompanying impact on agribusiness profitability and sustainability.

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