Diversity key for sustainable chicken production in Ethiopia: Study


(EBC; November 06, 2018)  -- Adopting a more local and flexible approach could be key to boosting small-scale chicken production in Ethiopia, a study reveals.


Researchers found that despite often appearing similar to each other, village chicken populations in Ethiopia are actually genetically diverse and highly adapted to their local physical, cultural and social environments. The researchers have investigated the genetics and disease challenges of chickens from two districts of Ethiopia; Horro and Jarso, along with the nature of the production systems and the socioeconomic reasons why chickens are kept.


Genomic analysis revealed that the village chickens showed high levels of adaptation to their local ecosystems, resistance to disease and to the management and cultural variations of their environment. On top of adaptation, the data suggest there may have been multiple introductions of chickens in Ethiopia that may relate to historic trade routes, religion and culture.


Chicken production is an important agricultural activity in many nations and can play an important role in reducing poverty and improving nutrition and gender empowerment.


The study suggests that in order to be successful, development interventions, including breeding programmes, need to consider this diversity and be tailored and designed to allow for flexible implementation, depending on local needs.