There is a high tendency that if we start commercializing our indigenous breeds, they will easily adapt and develop high resistance to heat stress.
The poultry sector is a booming industry in Nigeria. The continuous increase in poultry farms, capacity and production calls for a better policy that will ensure sustainability of the sector in the country. Nigeria and Africa at large continue to depend on the importation of Grandparent stock and Parent Stock to maintain country’s production thereby increasing international expenditure.
Small scale and rural poultry farmers are no longer moving out of poverty due to high cost of production and maintenance of exotic breeds of chicken. Even though, Geneticist and Breeders continue to improve our indigenous breeds of chickens so as to make them suitable for production, they still are not getting enough attention and wide distribution. These breeds are supposed to move rural and small scale farmers (especially women and youths) out of poverty and ensure good health and nutrition for their family due to dual purpose (meat and egg) of these improved indigenous breeds.
We need to ask different questions. Why are the geneticist and breeders not getting enough attention from the private sector? Why are we experiencing low production and distribution of our improved indigenous breeds? Why have we not achieved a high level of commercialization for our improved indigenous breeds? It is high time we started patronizing our indigenous breeds for commercial purposes!
In France, an indigenous dual purpose breed was developed; SASSO Dual purpose line for rural and small scale farmers having limited resources. The major target of the program is to achieve a high production of hatching eggs from the parent breeders and a slow growing, robust, easy to manage, chickens which can be grown under different rearing systems- from indoor and intensive to free range and village family based production. Feed is less dense, less expensive, lower in energy and protein, and allows the use of higher levels of cheaper and unconventional farm by-products
There is a high tendency that if we start commercializing our indigenous breeds, they will easily adapt and develop high resistance to heat stress. They will also have high immunity against diseases especially the dreaded viral diseases like Gumboro disease and Avian Influenza. It is possible that these birds will consume less and will thrive using averagely formulated feed ratio. There is also high chance that day old chick prices will be stable and cheaper. All these will contribute to low cost of production with high returns on investment raising the standard of living of most rural and small scale poultry farmers.
If Nigeria require sustainability in the poultry industry, it is important we start giving attention to our indigenous breeds and promote researches that will ensure improvement of these breeds. We really need to identify the missing links preventing improvement of our indigenous breeds.
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