Role of small scale family poultry in rural livelihoods case studies

R.K. Sharma and Harpal Singh
Department of Genetics & Animal Breeding, College of Veterinary and Animal Sciences,
G.B. Pant University of Agriculture & Technology, Pantnagar - 263145 (Uttaranchal)

Traditional family poultry farming plays a major role in the rural economy of Afro-Asian and Latin American countries and it accounts for about 80% of the world’s poultry production. Scavenging hens are, however, more or less neglected as an income generating activity by institutions as well as by the poultry holders themselves. Family poultry provides cash income, utilizes spare family time and contributes significantly to nutritional security of weaker and vulnerable sections of rural society. Population growth, urbanization and successive years of drought have further led to increased reliance on such traditional low risk production activities in poor countries. The main activities to improve scavenging poultry holdings have been introduction of cockerels and some crosses. However, the effect has been rather small because they have not been followed by other management activities. In Bangladesh there has, during the past decade, been developed a most successful model for semi-scavenging poultry holding. In 1996 it was established with more than 8,00,000 semi-scavenging smallholders and the number is now increasing with more than 1,00,000 per year. Similar efforts are on way in some other countries like Malawi, Morocco, Uganda, Mozambique, Burkina Faso, Cuba and Benin with the assistance provided by International development agencies like The Department for International Development (DFID), UK and International Network for Family Poultry Development (INFDP) of FAO. DFID is undertaking a very large mission partnership initiative in the state of Andhra Pradesh in primary education, employment generation, poverty eradication, and water conservation under watershed scheme with a component on family poultry. The project was conceptualized and implemented through Andhra Pradesh Rural Livelihoods Projects (APRLP) in 5 drought prone districts covering 105 villages of Andhra Pradesh, Two more programmes on livelihood improvements and poverty alleviation are likely to start in MP and Uttaranchal by Madhya Pradesh Rural Livelihoods Projects (MPRLP) and Livelihoods Projects for Himalayas, respectively, both aided by DFID (UK). Family poultry can, therefore, be very effective tool for fighting abject poverty and malnutrition and provide livelihoods.

Source : IPSACON-2005

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