New bird flu project focuses on world’s poor farmers
A Â£3.9 million (US$7.8 million, €5.7 million) project has been launched to help poor farmers in developing countries safeguard their livelihoods in the event of future outbreaks of avian influenza.
The International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) are jointly spearheading this research in Ethiopia, Indonesia, Kenya, Mali and Nigeria. Experts will identify strategies (such as farmer compensation schemes) that can control the disease and protect poor households from losing critical sources of income. Funded by the UK Department for International Development, the project will also involve research in Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam, where research will be led by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, the Royal Veterinary College and the University of California at Berkeley.
“In both Asia and Africa, meat and eggs from poultry are important sources of essential micronutrients for vulnerable groups, and poultry production is a central source of income for billions of poor people,” explained Dr Clare Narrod, IFPRI research. “Our goal is to help developing-country governments, civil society, and aid agencies make informed decisions so that the costs of controlling avian flu do not fall disproportionately on the rural poor, who consume their own poultry and rely on it for their livelihoods.”