In Malawi, indigenous chicken and goats are being used as focal animals of study and innovation generation along the livestock value chain. InCIP (www.incip.org), an African Union – European Union funded Indigenous Chicken Improvement project currently promotes indigenous chicken value chain development that includes establishment of breeding stock at LUANAR, evaluation and distribution of different phenotypes to farming communities, and research and development of the marketing system.
InCIP networked with Nyama world LTD, a retail outlet for meat, eggs and fish products during a Farmers Union Stakeholder meeting held in June 2014 and provided information on the increased demand for local chicken in its retail shops, but supply is limited.
Nyama world Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Hussein Jakhura, reported that for every 10 customers, 7 request meat and eggs from local chicken.
InCIP took this demand as an opportunity to sensitize farmers around Bunda Campus of LUANAR to organize themselves and supply about 1000 birds per day to be slaughtered at Bunda abattoir and supplied to Nyama world.
However, farmers failed to supply the birds due to among other constraints, small flock sizes and body frames of local chicken. It is against this background that iLINOVA joined efforts of InCIP to promote development of local chicken among farming communities.
Initially InCIP reached out to communities through distributing cocks tested on the breeding unit for crossing with households local hens. iLINOVA has gone beyond by promoting egg distribution from the breeding unit, monitoring chicks and their growth and survival performance.
Fertile eggs from evaluated local chicken at Bunda breeding unit are distributed to households that have a hen ready to sit on eggs for hatching. Households are advised to remove half of the eggs and replace with eggs from the breeding unit.
The programme has started on a promising note. Monitoring is jointly done by farmers and technical team from Bunda iLINOVA and InCIP projects.
In addition to the egg distribution, iLINOVA will promote use of semen from improved Black Australorp and Local cocks in community hens through artificial insemination (AI).
AI in chicken was introduced at Bunda Campus of LUANAR through InCIP by training technicians from the Department of Animal Science and the project, and third and fourth year students from 3rd to 7th February, 2014.