BY ANDUALEM SISAY GESSESSE – The International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) has introduced to Ethiopian farmers a more productive French variety chicken.
Labeled Sasso, the French chicken variety is adapted over the past years involving 3,500 Ethiopian farmers, according to Dr. Tadelle Dessie, Principal Scientist at ILRI. During the three years’ research period of trying to find the best chicken variety for Ethiopian farmers, ILRI has brought different chicken varieties from across the world.
Out of the different varieties the Ethiopian farmers have chosen the Sasso variety of French for its better productivity and color, according to Dr. Tadelle. The scientist indicated that Compared to the local chicken variety, Sasso giver 150 per cent more egg and grows 250 to 300 percent more. Like any other Ethiopian chicken varieties, Sasso chicken variety do not need a cage to grow.
The research on improving productivity of chicken in Ethiopia is part of the African Chicken Genetics Gains Program, which also involved Tanzania and Nigeria.
During the selection trial period, the farmers have also fed their kids one egg every day, to protect the kids from wasting and stunting.
After identifying the right chicken variety for each country and adapted, ILR has brought aboard private companies to produce the new chicken varieties and distribute to farmers.
In the case of Ethiopia two private companies namely Ethio Chicken and Hawassa Chicken have been engaged in disseminating the new varieties to the farmers. During the year 2019, Ethio Chicken alone has sold 20 million baby chicks.
ILRI has formed partnership agreement with the French and Holland company, which owns the chicken varieties (parent stock) being adapted in the three African countries. This partnership enables ILRI to continuously improve productivity of the selected chicken varieties, according to Dr. Tadelle. He stressed that introduction of better chicken varieties will increase income of African farmers, create more jobs for the youth and help fight stunting and waiting of under five children in the continent.
“Livestock products are nutrient dense. Protein of animal origin is important for body development, and also cognitive development. If a society manages to feed its children enough milk, enough egg, that society is building the next healthy generation that sooner or later takeover that country and build,” he said.
“The livestock sector in general has a big potential in creating jobs for the African youth. Most of the livestock related businesses do not require big land. One can start chicken farm in a small land. If we are really committed and if we work towards improving the sector, livestock can be a way out in creating unlimited number of jobs for the ever-growing African youth,” Dr. Tadelle of ILRI said.