- In Chad's N'djamena area, a successful project has demonstrated the potential of livestock diversification as a means of improving household food security. The project, which strengthened small animal husbandry utilizing indigenous breeds, achieved lessening animal disease rates and stabilising rural incomes.
FAO today reports of a successful pilot livestock diversification project that is being carried out in Chad. The project has managed increasing poor farmers' income and may be used as a model for similar efforts in the West and Central African region.
Food security is both sufficient food intake at the individual level, and food availability at the national level. This can be achieved when poor and vulnerable people have physical and economic access to food, and when households have a sustainable livelihood basis, according to FAO.
The livestock diversification project in the N'djamena area is associated with the FAO Special Programme for Food Security. Diversification of production systems in this programme includes aquaculture, small animal husbandry - poultry, sheep, goats, pigs, etc - and tree crops. In the case of Chad it has so far been related to small animal husbandry utilising indigenous breeds.
- Since being launched in November 2000, the FAO project in Chad has improved household food security by offering to poor farmers access to credit, goods and services and markets, explains FAO's Emmanuelle Guerne Bleich. "It has become a model for SPFS programmes elsewhere in sub-Saharan Africa," she adds.
In Chad, monoculture of certain animal species had led to an increasing animal disease rate. "High rates of mortality due to Newcastle disease, especially with chickens, were identified as a major cause of low productivity," explains Ms Bleich.
- To overcome this constraint, in consultation with the beneficiaries, the project included vaccination training for animal health workers at village level to prevent the spread of the disease, the FAO expert also said.
Newcastle Disease is caused by a highly pathogenic virus that can kill up to 80 percent of flocks in rural areas in Africa and Asia.
The pilot project in Chad had helped the households involved in its implementation to improve their living conditions through access to poultry - chickens, ducks and guinea fowl - credit and animal health care, staff and farmer training, and improved animal husbandry practices, according to FAO.
As a result, household food security in the N'djamena area had "greatly improved," the UN agricultural agency found. Income generation for women and young people in the selected villages had also been a major achievement of the project.
- Solutions still need to be found for producers from more remote rural areas who lack resources and have poorer access to goods and services and, importantly, a market, FAO nevertheless said.
FAO specialists are to present the lessons learned in Chad at the upcoming world Poultry Congress in Istanbul. The project has already been positively received by a number of donors, Ms Bleich adds. "In Chad, a large UNDP project is now being implemented using the model developed by FAO."
In Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, Togo and Cameroon, similar approaches are being developed that take account of each country's circumstances and include other species, such as pigs, rabbits and guinea pigs.
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