How to improve family poultry production?

Several IFAD-supported projects the potential positive impact family poultry production can have on household food security both in increased dietary intake and in income generation as well on smallholders’ resilience. During IFAD’s Global Staff Meeting a session was held to share the experiences from Senegal, Mauritania and The Gambia with family poultry production.

The Agricultural Value Chains Development Project (PAFA) in Senegal promotes the use of local products for improved poultry housing and feeding. The farmers use local materials to build small shelters. The hen houses have a separate space to protect chicks from predators. Once the shelter has been built, the project provides the households with local chicken breeds (nine hens and two roosters), which are more adapted to local conditions and free-ranging. The chickens are vaccinated and each family receives a medical kit. The farmers are trained in making the chicken feed themselves, using local ingredients, such as maize, groundnuts, cowpeas, dried fish and crushed bones. The feed ingredients and the food supplements respond to the chickens' nutrition needs, ensuring the producer's self-sufficiency at the same time. The project trained a number of farmers to become “family farm advisors”. The majority are women and about one third are younger than 35 years old. They inform farmers on good practices in family poultry production, especially with regards to housing, feeding and animal health. The farmers are organised in groups and sell chickens collectively. With the project's support, a Service Platform has been established in Thiawandou. Here trainings are given, but it also has the facilities to slaughter, clean and sell poultry meat and eggs.

The Value Chains Development Programme for Poverty Reduction (ProLPRAF) in Mauritania and the Livestock and Horticulture Development Project (LHDP) in The Gambia are promoting semi-intensive poultry production systems. They support the rearing of “improved” poultry breeds and the utilisation of improved feed. While in Mauritania, the hen houses are designed in a special manner to cope with very high temperatures, in The Gambia the poultry houses consist of costly breezeblock with concrete skim design. LHDP has however also successfully piloted integrated poultry-aquaculture in a number of sites.

By applying good practices in family poultry production, rural households in the three countries now have access to meat and eggs and sell the surplus. Family poultry development is also having a positive impact on women’s empowerment, by providing them access to training, inputs, technical assistance and markets in a sustainable manner.

Hen house supported by PAFA in Senegal

Hen house supported by ProLPRAF in Mauritania

Hen house supported by LHDP in The Gambia