The coming decades pose an unprecedented challenge. In the next ten years, nearly a billion people will join the global middle class, sparking greater demand for animal protein. This demand must be met, while protecting animal welfare and coping with increasingly unpredictable natural disasters. Farmers and veterinarians cannot face this challenge alone.
Public–private partnerships that combine the knowledge, expertise and missions of both public and private actors can support the livestock sector in facing the road ahead.
Public–private partnerships thrive when each side is able to offer its unique and complementary attributes to a project to ensure its success.
The public sector can offer deep wells of knowledge within governments or universities and the support to undertake projects that may be smaller, speculative or financially difficult.
The private sector possesses extensive distribution networks, along with the expertise to develop a nascent medicine into a safe, viable product for the market.
By working together, the two sectors maximise their unique experiences, knowledge and resources to address an under-served issue. The outcome is healthier animals and more developed markets, which can lead to more available medicines.
The Pirbright Institute in the United Kingdom has developed a potential vaccine for foot and mouth disease (FMD) that offers protection against four FMD serotypes, which affect livestock in some of the poorest areas of the world. However, this vaccine needs distribution, manufacturing and testing networks, etc. The Pirbright Institute has partnered with a global animal medicines company (and HealthforAnimals member) to make use of its expertise and networks to deliver an approved, commercially viable and affordable vaccine to those who need it. This partnership combines public-sector knowledge with established private-sector infrastructure to benefit livestock farmers in the poorest regions. This is just one example of how PPPs can tackle difficult challenges.
Future of public–private partnerships
As the human population and challenges confronting our world increase, so do the challenges we face in livestock production. It is essential that public and private sectors work in tandem, so the unique characteristics of each side can combine to solve problems that cannot be solved alone.