Jonathan Bell (Bangladesh) - To what extent are these conditions necessary for the model to work? Let me put this as an open question. I think the first one is certainly indispensable.
Incidentally, in response to an earlier comment, in the Southern districts of Bangladesh where we are working, industrialised intensive poultry production is virtually absent, so there is no market interference from this.
Thabani Maposha (Zimbabwe)- The destabilisation of prices from nearby battery systems is unlikely. My experience in Zimbabwe is that this has actually been positive for the CBOs we call them Chigs here, in the sense that it has helped the prices of village chickens to lag closely behind those of broilers without any additional input whilst the broilers have been facing shrinking profits because of feed costs which are in the margin of 70% plus of TVC.
Jonathan Bell (Bangladesh) - An important pre-condition for the success in Bangladesh is the presence of NGOs that can reach out to people. Almosst as rule - I repeat myself - government cannot reach out and we need other types of organisations than government livestock departments to reach people. It would be useful if this conference could contribute to the list of working alternative institutional arrangements to reach out to people - or for people to reach the technology(ies).
Peder Lund (Denmark) - The strength of the Poultry Model is that the main support to the beneficiaries is provided by NGOs. The majority of these NGOs have other activities that seek to improve the overall socio-economic development of their beneficiaries (health, education, etc.). This implies that in cases where there are problems like gambling and drinking the NGOs should be able to address these issues and assist the beneficiaries in drawing up satisfactory solutions.
In areas where the Poultry Model (in one form or other) cannot be introduced, due to lack of one or more of the vital elements, simpler technologies can be introduced as an intermediary step for alleviating poverty, while still using poultry as the tool for poverty alleviation.
Per A. Eklund (former Sr. Evaluation Officer IFAD) - I am convinced about advantages and replicability of Bangladesh model with specified preconditions.
Two queries: how to enhance its longer-term sustainability?
Query One: Should on normative grounds poultry activities be diffused and services by/through single purpose community based organisations (CBO) which then can/should federate? Or is there an advantage in seeking to broaden the platform.
I am asking this since for IFAD I have conducted a survey of women CBOs in two districts in Nepal. This study shows that community leaders consider that there is a primary question more important than even food insecurity that drives behaviour and community mobilisation. Leaders consider that their limited knowledge about their own nutrition - first are their children chronically malnourished or not, and if so, second, which are the location specific solutions - is a primary cause to malnutrition, a secondary concern is food insecurity.
On average in most South Asian countries each second child in rural areas remains chronically malnourished (stunted). Poultry generate cash income for mothers and animal protein, both are associated with reduced stunting levels. This implies that on a priori grounds, a multiple purpose CBO, i.e. one that is concerned with overall nutrition security or household well being could be a more effective driving force for poultry model uptake, compared to single purpose poultry CBOs.
Second, how do the CBOs deal with the eventual threat from nearby agribusiness that with battery production units may destabilise prices and markets?
Frands Dolberg (Denmark) - Working with this model can be used as a tool to identify the poor. We know of the housing index as used by many micro-credit programmes as a poverty indicator, but it is probably less well appreciated that most rural households who keep no other animals than local chicken or none at all are equally poor.
In whatever form the work is organised, it will be important that this original target group (the poor) is kept in focus - and this may imply a beginning with a single purpose (sub) organisation. However, as the group settles and gets on with its poultry vaccination and other related activities, it could be used as a focal point for other activities such as savings and credit etc. I feel that indicators of child malnutrition - and other indicators of human well-being like body mass index of adults - can very well be used as key indicators for baseline surveys and progress assessment - and using such indicators are likely to dig deeper into our understanding of the location specific causes of malnutrition, which in-turn - provided we are prepared to learn and adjust - are likely to lead to even more efficient interventions, not necessarily poultry or animal in any way to overcome malnutrition. We know from IFPRI's studies that the status of women and women's education are very important factors to overcome malnutrition and not only increased production in itself.
I do not take firms stands on any of the possibilities mentioned above as I am sure outcome will also depend on the type of interest and leadership that happens to exist in a given place. However, one thing is sure. It may sound simple to have 5 - 10 hens running in a homestead, but it is not if this has to happen on a larger scale and we are terribly short of people with appropriate skills to properly organise and technically guide such work. The work of the Danida sponsored Smallholder Poultry Network (www.poultry.kvl.dk) deserves mention in this context. We know that for the CGIAR system poultry is not a priority although the basic experience with the work so far, i.e. that it is a tool to entitle very poor families, and not the least women and children with food, ought to interest the CGIAR system. In many countries I have visited there is a group of 20 - 25% of the households that suffer from lack of food, even if at the macro-level, we can calculate/claim that there is enough food in a country.
On the question of competition with large poultry units, I have no firm answers. However, interesting studies could be done - or comments invited - in India, where we see eggs from commercial farms being sold in villages. On the other hand, in many country eggs and meat of local birds command a premium price over the products of exotic birds. However, if anyone has studied this question it would be good to hear from them.
Hans Askov Jensen (Denmark) - I will try to answer the two questions:
1. The community-based organisation (CBO) is an essential element in the concept, but how these CBOs shall be organised or federated depend on the specific country. In Bangladesh takes the NGOs the responsibilities for maintaining the support and provide the required services and in other countries as Malawi is it a severe problem. I agree with you on the integrated approach in which the families' health and nutrition status has priority. However, the smallholder concept is based on viable activities for the individual enterprises and these enterprises can not directly finance the social aspect, but the CBOs already established in the model can be the entry point for other family related activities - if the organisation is there.
2. It is a common perception that the commercial sector is a threat. But as stated in Essential No. 2 in the introductory paper, the smallholder shall take the advantages of the natural conditions in the village in such a way they can produce an egg with lower cost that in the commercial sector.
J.M.Ndegwa (Kenya) - I agree with the community groups approach as a strategy in poverty alleviation but I would like to see people being the focus of development interventions rather than the family poultry per se. The community approach is an effort in this direction. From past experience of participatory research in Kenya, I see the major constraint to this strategy is being one of attitude and lack of motivation. Training and sensitising women groups would make them strategically harness the few birds each might have as exemplified by a case study placed below.
Role of family poultry (scavanger poultry) production in sustainable livelihoods and poverty eradication - the case of wanjiku
Wanjiku (not her real name) is a single mother of 3 in her 40s. I met her in the course of my field visits in an on-farm farmer participatory research project in 1997. Her story about indigenous chicken and poverty was first told to me by one of my project farmers in whose homestead, Wanjiku and her 3 children, had sort refuge (squatter). The story was just too good to believe. Too compelling indeed. This unassuming lady was determined to shake off her the chains of impoverishment. Landless and in terribly humiliating indigence, Wanjiku decided enough was enough. From her meagre earnings by selling her labour to neighbours, she would buy a hen now and a cock later.
Slowly by slowly, Wanjiku had a flock of her own however small in size. But then her eyes were firmly focussed beyond her small 'wealth'. She began to manage her flock of birds to make it a 'commercially' viable enterprise. Her strategy involved 'synchronised' hatching whereby two or more hens would be allowed to sit (incubate) on eggs at the same time. This meant that Wanjiku was able to have about 50 or more chicks at the same time. She would then rear and sell them off as a single batch. She did this several times and soon she had enough money to purchase a small piece of land of her own.
Eventually Wanjiku managed to put up a modest house by the local standards where she moved in with her family. Firmly and happily in her new home of her own, Wanjiku continued with her chicken project but she now expanded the enterprise to include vegetable growing. Her children were very helpful in these endeavours. Soon she had bought and expanded her land. Other developments in her homestead include a separate house for her sons to keep with her community's traditions, and water storage tanks - very hardy for her vegetable growing. My observation of this lady has convinced me that the war to eradicate poverty and establishment of sustainable livelihoods can be worn and will be worn. This requires the right approaches - the Wanjiku method. To hasten the process resources should be harnessed and directed through the 'right' channels. Focusing on the poor and landless, their participation and use of local resources such as family poultry (scavenging/indigenous poultry) is an imperative.
Yaglo M G S (Tanzania)- First I would like to commend the Bangladesh model for its role in poverty alleviation of the poorest people in Bangladesh. It's encouraging learning that the model has undergone through some metamorphosis to the way it is now. I think the brilliance and dedication of all the people who have been involved in it need to be emulated elsewhere by people interested in using poultry as a tool for family poverty alleviation. However, Jonathan Bell has mentioned two conditions i.e., low cost of labour and high population density necessary for the model to work.
Now if these conditions were absent could the model have worked as it is now? I think the conditions Jonathan mentions are necessary for the Bangladesh model as it is. We have a different environment in Tanzania that could influence a kind of model if we have to start one or if we want to adopt some experiences from the Bangladesh model.
1) The common things with Bangladesh are; (i) rural people are very poor, (ii) labour is cheap (iii) poultry can be owned by the poor of the poorest
2) The difference is that poor people in Tanzania (i) are not densely populated (ii) all families own land, but they only differ in the capacity to utilise it effectively. Each family thus produces its own staple food mainly maize (iii) the land tenure gives all the people access to the use of natural resources (iv) almost over 94% of rural families keep poultry.
Each family owns poultry and land and can produce their own food and is therefore not necessarily dependent on market crops (which might of course not be enough for the whole year). The combinations of these factors make the rural market for poultry products minimal or absent. The main market is the urban population. Whereas in Bangladesh there is both the combination of rural as well as urban markets for poultry products, consequently facilitating interchange of inputs and outputs between different enterprises at a rural and or local level.
Frands Dolberg (Denmark) - We very likely come to these questions from very different perspectives. My perspective is shaped by more than 30 years in rural development (adviser, researcher, consultant), mainly livestock and attachment to Aarhus University, which gives me an opportunity to read a book now and then, apart from the updating from students.
On this background, my pre-occupation is not models per se, but modes of organising the work that seems to achieve what we want. We now want to reach the poorest with our development efforts and poultry has proven - in what I have seen on the ground - to be a very useful tool, not much written about.
Asifo O. Ajuyah (Fiji) - In the Philippines small-holders of livestock in particular poultry play significant role in rural nutrition, economy and culture (gifts, marriages, settling strife etc). Based on experiences in the South Pacific Island countries general constraints encompass but not limited to the following:- feed (cost, availability, quantity and quality); capital; management; skills; land tenure; natural disasters, government policies, marketing, diseases, manure disposal (intensive), replacement stock, no herd sub-division, indiscriminate slaughter of potential breeder, water etc. I will presume that similar constraints exist in the Philippines as a result of which your model and the Bangladesh model with appropriate modification might be a novel panacea for small-holders of livestock in small Islands countries.
Krishna Kaphle/ J. H. Lin (Nepal) - Taking lesson from the success of Bangladesh rural poultry scheme for poverty elimination, Nepalese government adopted it to experiment in remote rural Far Western part of the country. The mountainous areas, backward in all sphere of development and a hot bed of Maoist insurgency were chosen for this experiment. Selected personnel who would be involved at field level for implementing the programme were taken for a trip to Bangladesh where they got first hand experience. I was not included in the trip but I did visit those rural areas to monitor the preparation for the proposed programme assessing the strength and weakness of the preparation. I do not want to discuss in detail about the programme but just for recent information it is in its first phase and around 100,000 layer pullets have already been distributed among the selected farmers representing poorest of the poor. I gained some experience, which I feel is a right opportunity and forum to discuss:
Unlike Bangladesh, Nepal being a mountainous country, limited resources, market facility, technical supports will make-work little harder. At field level the programme is being considered as a bestowal from the government in an attempt to counter insurgency, monitory gains over long term adoption was sensed from almost all the areas where I travelled. The programme has emphasised in distributing hybrid breeds for obvious reasons and the management, nutrition they may receive is no doubt below their minimum requirement. The real test for breed supremacy prevails as different breeds from diverse sources were distributed and the results will speak by itself. Some villages where the programme was implemented lied close to wild life habitat and the ecological impact of disease transfer brought in by the birds, their density resulted disease harbouring and spread to native fowls, wild birds was never assessed. The involved participants of the programme hailing from backward class of the society will not hesitate eating a dead bird rather then carefully disposing it. The effect of such activities on human health, the improper disposal of the birds viscera and its wide scale contamination by crow, dog to the surrounding areas cannot be ruled out, what is the consequence?
Besides the continuity, successful follow up, utilising local genetic resources, drawing active participation by providing loans, and vast of other areas are intended in the second phase. We are waiting for the outcome of the first phase and till now it is promising, and this interaction is bound to help us in future in our experiment with adopting Bangladeshi model.
Edward Mallorie (Denmark)- I wonder how the smallholder poultry model can be made more flexible. There is some evidence from the earlier project that some women took up poultry production primarily to get credit, and did not continue to with poultry production for very long. It also seems that poultry may not appeal to all very poor people, who may lack homestead space for chickens, may not be able to afford the time for a part time enterprise (they need a full time occupation away from the home to survive), and who may be unwilling to take the risk involved in taking credit for livestock investment (especially at an initial stage). Would it be possible to have a more demand driven approach, allowing group members to make a choice of what livestock and non-livestock enterprises they invest in? What implications does this have for the linked enterprises of the poultry model? The usual NGO practice in Bangladesh is to allow people a free choice of what income generating activity they take up.