Up to 150,000 small-scale poultry farmers in 8 African countries are to benefit from a new 4-year project which aims to make them more productive and efficient by building their business.
The PREVENT project (Promoting and Enabling Vaccination Efficiently, Now and Tomorrow) will see more than 50 million hatchery-vaccinated day-old chicks distributed annually. Improvement in poultry production is one of the most promising options to provide affordable protein and other essential nutrients to Africa’s growing population. Currently, there are more than 250m people on the continent who are undernourished and almost 1 billion cannot afford a healthy diet.
The PREVENT project (Promoting and Enabling Vaccination Efficiently, Now and Tomorrow) will see more than 50 million hatchery-vaccinated day old chicks distributed annually. Photo: Ruud Ploeg
Partnership between Ceva and GALVmed
Backed by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the project is a partnership between global veterinary health company Ceva and GALVmed, a not for profit organisation that makes livestock vaccines, medicines, and diagnostics accessible to small-scale producers. The initiative will involve 36 medium-sized hatcheries and aims to overcome some of the issues that have hampered distribution of vaccines on the continent, such as high temperatures which cause distribution problems. By providing backyard flock owners with better quality chicks, which are already effectively protected from the major infectious poultry disease before they arrive on farm, together with improved flock health and husbandry advice, the project aims to cut waste and make poultry production across the target countries much more sustainable.
Another issue that blocks improvements to efficiencies for small-scale producers has been the absence of technical support. The project aims to overcome this by ensuring field technicians serve as a link between the hatcheries and producers as well as distributing the vaccinated chicks. The project also aims to be gender transformative by aiming to have women actively participate in 60% of the small-scale poultry targeted enterprises.
Enrique Pando, GALVmed Director for Commercial Development, said his organisation was committed to accelerating the availability of technologies that were beneficial for backyard flock keepers: “We are happy to be part of this collaboration that will increase small sale poultry producers’ access to healthy day-old chicks, enabling them to reduce their production costs, expand their businesses, and substantially increase their profit margins while improving their quality of life.”
High quality protein
Dr Pierre-Marie Borne, Ceva Public Health Director, said the project would strengthen and broaden poultry production in rural areas: “It will enhance the capacity of smaller farmers to respond to the enormous challenge of producing enough high-quality protein to mee the needs of Africa’s rapidly growing population.” The large-scale and geographically dispersed nature of the project will offer unprecedented levels of access and insight into the emerging commercial poultry sector in Africa. It is hoped that the information generated and shared by the project will encourage other businesses, such as feed, genetics, and equipment suppliers to invest and support the sector.