Poultry constitutes an important economic activity for the rural poor in many African countries. Additionally in many rural families, poultry provides the family with a low cost, highly efficient and nutritious protein. Unfortunately, the smallholder farmers in rural areas often do not have access to these improved genetics. The access to an improved low-input and dual-purpose chicken to supplement the local indigenous breeds could transform the rural poultry enterprise.
In some countries, investments are made to support the African Poultry Multiplication Initiative (APMI) or other comparable structures. The APMI generally operates through capable local private companies to establish a parent stock (PS) and hatchery operation for the supply of improved dual purpose chicken breeds to farmers in their communities. The day-old-chicks from the PS farm are transported to so called “Brooder Units” who will specialize in the brooding, feeding, and proper vaccination process for the first 30-40 days of the chicks life. Through this system, local smallholder farmers have access to improved genetics and the chickens have a high chance to survive due to their good start.
Recently Hendrix Genetics received a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to further enhance the use of improved poultry genetics in rural Africa. The program named “Sustainable Access to Poultry Parent Stock for Africa (SAPPSA)” aims to 1) secure access of poultry parent stock, 2) grow the APMI-like initiatives within and across countries and 3) improve the dual purpose better breeds for African smallholder farmers.
By securing access to high quality PS and improving the breeding program of dual-purpose breeds under African conditions, the APMI can be better implemented in African countries. It will result in 1) increase poultry production and productivity, 2) increase rural household income 3) improved household nutrition and 4) empowerment of women.