Making Smallholder Chicken Production Viable

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Renowned professor of animal husbandry at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile –Ife, Professor Funsho Sonaiya, was in Lagos recently for a two-day summit on how to boost smallholder chicken production. Jonathan Eze, who was in attendance, highlights the gains of the summit

The African Chicken Genetic Gains (ACGG) has expressed its readiness to transform smallholder chicken production into commercially viable enterprise with active private sector engagement that empowers rural women and youths as well as increases income and nutrition of families through delivery of more productive locally adaptable chicken, production inputs and services to rural communities.

Brief background
The African Chicken Genetic Gains (ACCG) is a project which aims to enhance the food security and livelihoods of rural and peri-urban farming communities in sub-Sahara African countries. This will be achieved through a transformational, comprehensive, and system-wide approach to the improvement of village poultry production systems at a scale that has the potential to impact millions of the poorest of the poor in three partner countries i.e. Ethiopia, Nigeria & Tanzania.

The project was launched in Nigeria on the 22nd July, 2015 at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Ibadan, Oyo State by the Honorable Minister, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD), ably represented by Dr. J.A. Aderiye of the Department of Animal Husbandry Services, FMARD, Abuja.

The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has sponsored, and supported the implementation of ACGG in Nigeria (ACGG-NG) as a collaborative research agreement between the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU).
Addressing newsmen in Lagos recently, Prof. Funso Sonaiya, Illiya Duniya and Dr. Sam Mbaka said that a total of six genetics are being tested in two stations (Federal University of Agriculture Abeokuta & Fol-Hope Farms, Ibadan) and in five zones (Kwara, Rivers, Imo, Nasarawa and Kebbi States) with 2,100 farmers. The two most preferred breeds by farmers are then to be commercialised by private breeder farms to ensure reliable supply of day-old-chicks.

Some of the major achievements of ACGG-Nigeria in the past two years include: the conduction of an extensive baseline survey of smallholder poultry farmers in Nigeria, distribution of over 65,000 chicks to 2,100 smallholder chicken farmers ( 65% are women) in 60 villages across 5 main agro-ecological zones, facilitating the delivery of vaccination to smallholder chicken farmers, establishment of a data management system (ICT) for on-farm and on-station data collection, organised 2 national colloquiums with researchers & scholars in poultry breeding & genetics, and poultry nutrition (feed), establishment of national and community innovation platforms for smallholder chicken value chain, genomic sampling of local chicken populations across 6 agro-ecological zones, and launching of the smallholder chicken value chain (SHC VC) forum in partnership with the FMARD, Poultry Association of Nigeria (PAN), and the World Poultry Science Association (WPSA).

In the area of capacity building, it was announced that the project has awarded postgraduate fellowships to 10 Nigerian students (5 PhDs & 5 MScs.) in 6 universities in the country, and provided full sponsorships to a total of 10 postgraduate students to attend three different international training workshops organised by ILRI & Wageningen University, The Netherlands. Also, chickens have been donated to tertiary institutions and secondary schools in Kebbi, Rivers, Nasarawa, and Imo States for training and educational purposes.

Poultry summit
The theme of the 6th edition of the Nigeria International Poultry Summit, 2017 was: Policy, Science and Commerce to Optimise the Poultry Industry in Nigeria.
NIPS is a bi-ennial event of World Poultry Science Association (Nigeria Branch) taking place in Nigeria, Africa and involving the meeting of all local, international experts and other stakeholders in Poultry industry to exchange knowledge on the state of Poultry Industry Worldwide with special emphasis on Nigeria and Africa.

For the first time, the Poultry Association of Nigeria (PAN) and the World’s Poultry Science Association (WPSA), Nigeria Branch, are collaborating to sponsor the 2017 Poultry Summit. The Department of Animal Sciences, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, is organising the Poultry Summit.

This event will attract major players in the Livestock feeds and feed additives, poultry equipment
manufacturing, poultry breeding, supplies and distribution of poultry products, fast food industry, agricultural finance and insurance practitioners, veterinary/pharmaceutical industry, farmers, researchers and all other poultry related ventures.

Contributor to GDP
The commercial poultry sector makes a significant contribution to Nigeria’s agricultural GDP. It is focussed on large scale, intensive use of inputs for large profits. The majority of households in the rural areas keep a few chickens using the extensive system of production. The African Chicken Genetic Gains Project in Nigeria has been using an innovation platform to find solutions to the problems and challenges of the SHP value chain (SHP VC).

ACGG-NG established innovation platforms at the both the national and community levels where stakeholders and actors in the SHP VC meet to co-create solutions to the challenges of the smallholder poultry production. Four national innovation platforms have been held since the inception of the project (twice a year).
After several months of consultations with the stakeholders (Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Poultry Association of Nigeria, PropCom Mai-karfi, Fowl sellers Association of Nigeria etc.), ACGG-NG is now launching the SHC VC forum.

The Smallholder Poultry Production
The smallholder poultry (SHP) production has been shown in various countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America to have a great potential in poverty alleviation and wealth creation for the poorest of the poor.
To find solutions to the problems and challenges of the Smallholder Poultry value chain (SHP VC), it was agreed at the 3rd edition of the National IP that a self-sustaining forum be developed for the SHP VC in Nigeria

PropCom Makarfi (an NGO), Amo Farms Sieberer Group (a sector 1 poultry farm), Federal Department of Animal Husbandry Services (of FMARD) and the Usmanu Dan Fodiyo University and Obafemi Awolowo University Departments of Animal Science were identified to promote the forum.
The forum is planned to be a self-sustaining decision making platform for sustained monitoring of the continuous demand and supply of required quantity and quality of standardised and competitively priced input and output of the SHP VC in Nigeria.

The stakeholders
It is to involve all stakeholders – associations, networks, businesses, exchanges, while providing investment opportunities, appropriate credit options, high yielding science and technology products to facilitate production processes, quality standardisation, and other activities of mutual benefits to stakeholders all along the SHP VC. Entrepreneurs, scientists, researchers, government policy makers and project officers of non-governmental organisations .

SHP farming, chicken feeds/nutrition and feed milling, breeding, hatching, brooding, vaccination and deworming, egg, bird and manure marketing and processing, credit/insurance, training, youth and women empowerment, equipment fabrication etc.

Key strategic issues
Conducive and supportive policy environment for the SHP VC in Nigeria, appropriate equipment and machines for SHP production,
Appropriate employment generation / jobs creation, Marketing contracts and supply orders, arrangements and agreements.

Risks assessment of SHP production and supplies ventures. Credit risks assessment,
Financing/credits options and processes.
Sharing experiences from research and development; updates on appropriate science and technologies; and industrial product development: Product quality, standard, costing, demands, selling prices and supplies.

Core task of the forum
Stimulate and sustain the commercial interests of stakeholders and commitment to the Nigeria SHP brand for mutual benefits by addressing problems with facts and experience.
Generate co-created solutions based on interactions in the forum. Identify gaps in skill sets and bridge gaps amongst stakeholders.
Establish a viable business negotiation and agreement system amongst stakeholders
The objective of the meeting is to discuss the potential business opportunities with regards to the long term genetic gains of the introduced improved tropically adapted breeds (iTABs).

Expectations
The primary outcome expected from the ACGG-NG project is that smallholder chicken producers have access to day-old chicks (DOC) of the 2 farmer-preferred, improved, more productive and adapted poultry lines from the private breeder farm(s).
It is expected that the breeder farm(s) selected shall:

Develop stable multiplication lines (great grandparents, grandparents, and parent stock) of the farmer-preferred germplasm, and get the improved chicks into smallholder farmers’ hands through a profitable commercial process.

Use the data and samples collected from the on-station and on-farm testing to set up longer-term crossbreeding and chicken genetic gains programs, which may include the application of modern technologies for accelerating the rate of genetic gains.