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Enhancing poultry genetics in Sub-Sahara Africa

Moves to design and supply enhanced poultry genetics across sub-Saharan Africa are in full swing as part of developments to enhance sustainable production on the Continent.

18 months ago, Hendrix Genetics was awarded a multi-year grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to develop their preferred chicken breeds to improve poultry stock to smallholder farms.

Bill and Melinda Gates project The Sustainable Access to Poultry Parental Stock (SAPPSA) is backed by SASSO, Hendrix’s traditional poultry business. Photo: Gates Foundation
Bill and Melinda Gates project The Sustainable Access to Poultry Parental Stock (SAPPSA) is backed by SASSO, Hendrix’s traditional poultry business. Photo: Gates Foundation

The Sustainable Access to Poultry Parental Stock (SAPPSA) is backed by SASSO, Hendrix’s traditional poultry business. Julie Kuiack, Hendrix Genetics events and marketing communications office, said a decision had been taken to set up a grandparent farm on another Continent – Brazil, South America. “Brazil is free of various high pathogenic viruses and has been used as a base for the export of animal genetics to a large range of countries in Africa for some time.

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“In addition, with Hendrix Genetics’ large and experienced layer business in Brazil, it became apparent that this would be the best operational base for SASSO. As disease outbreaks within domestic and wild avian populations have been threatened the poultry industry on so many occasions, a key feature of sustainable poultry breeding is enhanced biosecurity, disease control and disease resistance.” So, 3 grandparent farms have been developed at Xareu Farm, Itapetinininga, Sao Paolo, Brazil, on the same farm as Hendrix Genetics’ laying hen facilities. “This is the ideal location as the layer genetics are protected against disease threats and any resultant import bans. The range of sites also allows us to provide a consistent supply of genetics at the right time, even to Africa, as per our customers’ requests.”

SAPPSA from Hendrix Genetics on Vimeo.

Building the new grandparent facility in Brazil required complete design of feed and water systems, flooring and fences to ensure a high standard of biosecurity. Absolute compliance with regulations on these elements is crucial for exporting quality genetics. The first flock of grandparent day old chicks were hatched in the Salto hatchery and placed for rearing. These birds were supplied by SASSO and will be delivered twice yearly. Under the SAPPSA initiative, Hendrix Genetics hopes to reach 30% per cent of farmers within the next 5 years.