Small-scale poultry and food security in resource-poor settings: A review
This review (PDF) in the Global Food Security journal highlights the multitude of avenues through which small-scale poultry (SSP) production can contribute to improved household food and nutrition security in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) with limited resources (resource-poor settings). As a highly available and accessible form of livestock in rural, resource-poor areas that often experience food insecurity, SSP are a significant source of income, nutritionally-rich foods and security for the poorest of households. In particular, the importance of these systems to the livelihoods of women, children, the elderly, and the chronically ill should not be overlooked. Furthermore, they also improve food security in indirect ways, such as enhancing nutrient utilisation and recycling in the environment, contributing to mixed farming practices and women’s empowerment, and enabling access to healthcare and education. Barriers to maximising the potential impact of SSP production systems are significant, with high burdens of disease and predation limiting production and utilisation of poultry products. Many of these constrains can be addressed through improved agricultural and livestock extension and community animal health networks. For small-scale intensive systems, feed price fluctuations and inadequate biosecurity are major constraints. Recognition of the ability of local chickens to survive and reproduce in harsh environments, their value as a rich source of genetic biodiversity, and their potential to contribute to sustainable development should promote interest in investing in the protection and conservation of local breeds kept in SSP systems.