At the height of a global pandemic, the AGCO Agriculture Foundation (AAF) launched a sustainable poultry production project in Zambia to help small-scale producers scale poultry production in Zambia.
The project funded by the AAF, implemented by Self Help Africa and supported by the MRFF benefitted farmers in Chongwe District. Self Help Africa implemented tailored programs in poultry management with a focus on increasing access to quality inputs, enhanced livestock management as well as farm business knowledge and skills to enable farmers maximize nutritional and economic benefits from their poultry ventures.
Organized in commodity producer groups (CPGs), project beneficiaries each received four birds (three local hens and one Kuroiler Cockerel). 800 broilers were distributed in each CPG to support poultry rearing in the intial phase and increased to 1000 broilers per CPG after successful sale of the initial stock. Other benefits included feed and vaccines as well as training in poultry management, feed formulation, business management skills and nutrition education to change attitudes and consumption behaviors.
The project supported 250 households in 12 months with over 80 percent of beneficiaries being women and youth. These beneficiaries were supported to increase their production and access markets for self-sufficiency and business sustainability.
On the 15th of October 2021, the MRFF hosted a results dissemination and project completion workshop to reflect and share on the milestones achieved in the course of project implementation.
Beneficiaries commended the project for enabling them increase their household income. As Tobias Mzombola explains, “The poultry project has really helped people in our community. With increased incomes, we are using the profits to send our children to school.” To tackle poultry rearing challenges such as limited access to extension services, vaccines and inputs, the project armed participants with knowledge on better poultry housing, feed formulation and farm hygiene leading to a reduction in incidences of poultry diseases, says Tobias.
“In addition to receiving both broilers and village chickens, I joined other participants to attend training on poultry house management, feed formulation and practical cooking demonstrations explaining the importance of nutrition education.” Says Kuzanayi Tembo, a female beneficiary.
For Lifted Youth Cooperative in Chongwe District, the project enabled them to hatch chicks and offer hatchery services to other farmers within the district. “Through the support and training provided through the project, we have incorporated all lessons and recommendations from the training received, and we have seen a thriving poultry operation. Group members have also individually earned an income from the sale of chicken and eggs” said Elase Mpande, a spokesperson for the Lifted Youth Cooperative.
Judith Nanyangwe, a beneficiary shares, “Like many other small-scale poultry farmers around Chongwe, the pandemic was a big shock for my poultry business. This project is timely, and it helped to gain new experiences in poultry and business management. As a result, I have secured a new market uptake where I sell my eggs for a price of 120 Zambian Kwacha ($6.61) per tray,”
At a time when poultry protein demand and consumption is at an all-time high, this small-scale focused poultry project has helped create a sustainable approach to addressing hunger, enhancing household income, and contributed to nutrition security, particularly for smallholder farming communities in Chongwe District.
This AAF funded project implemented by Self Help Africa has recorded impactful results. The project continues to empower marginalized farmers with additional sources of income through indigenous and exotic chicken breeds. Smallholder farmers will continue to access support through tailored poultry training and nutrition education programs such as the weekly poultry radio show program.