Disease is a major constraint that threatens productivity of rural chicken farmers in Nigeria, of which Newcastle Disease is said to be the most devastating. A 2015 study conducted by Propcom Mai-karfi to assess local chicken production revealed that most chicken producers do not invest in vaccines for their chicken and the few who do use vaccines that are unapproved for chicken diseases. The same study further revealed that many chicken farmers have little or no knowledge of good feeding practice and disease control.
Chicken production can, however, be a lucrative source of additional income for rural households. However, for this to happen constraints to productivity, such as disease, must be managed, and rural producers supported to improve their productivity and access to market. In view of the benefits of chicken production to rural communities, Propcom Mai-karfi has designed several interventions to tackle identified constraints. These interventions provide rural women involved in local chicken production with training, access to vaccines and offtakers in order to improve their production and access to market. This, Propcom does in collaboration with private sector partners.
Habiba Hassan is a mother of six children from Gwamfia in Jahun Local Government in Jigawa State. Habiba wears many hats as a local chicken farmer, groundnut farmer and food vendor in her attempt to generate additional income to support her household. Even though Habiba had been rearing local chickens in her backyard for some time, she, like many women local chicken producers, was faced with issues such as poor flock size due to their chickens contracting diseases and dying. The problem was that, Habiba and the other women were not aware of vaccines and their use in preventing poultry diseases and had, thus, never vaccinated their chickens.
Things changed for Habiba when in 2019 Propcom Mai-karfi organised a training on Local Chicken Improved Production (LoCIP) in her community, and she was one of the participants. Despite having experience rearing local chicken, she said she learnt a lot, especially about vaccines that help prevent diseases and death in chickens. She said she was very pleased when after the training they were linked to vaccinators who offer vaccination services in their community. This linkage proved very useful as she was able to get one of the vaccinators to vaccinate all her chickens after the training.
There isn’t enough awareness [about vaccination] to enable women to vaccinate their chickens; so, they don’t. When they see how well my chickens are doing, they ask for my secret and I teach them what I learnt from the training. Once they know, they are more inclined to vaccinate because they know its importance.
In addition to being linked to vaccinators, Habiba and other participants at the training were put in contact with aggregators who purchased their chickens in bulk. This made access to market quicker for the women as previously they had to take their chickens to the open market to sell, which often involved multiple visits to the market before they were able to sell off their chickens. With this linkage their chicken sale was swifter, income was not delayed, and the women saved on transportation and other costs incurred to get to market.
Habiba said that partaking in the training has made a lot of difference in the way she takes care of her chickens. When we spoke with Habiba, she had two hens sitting on 10 eggs each. She said that by practising knowledge gained from the training she was confident that her chickens will grow big and healthy and get her good prices when they are ready to be sold. She is now an advocate of the LoCIP training and has transferred the knowledge gained to others in her community.
Since I started practising what I learnt from the training, my chickens are healthier, and I make more money than women who don’t vaccinate their chickens. The money I make, I put back into my chicken business and use the rest to buy foodstuff and pay bills for my household.