Poultry Production and its Contributions
12 January 2011 - The poultry sector supports the livelihoods and food security of millions of people, and also contributes to national agricultural outputs. Currently, rising demand for poultry meat, eggs and other poultry byproducts is being driven by many developing countries experiencing rapidly rising incomes and urbanization, combined with underlying population growth.
As demand for animal proteins grows, many opportunities open up to poultry producers all around the world to tap into growing markets. Supplying this vibrant demand for poultry and its products either domestically or for exports is an opportunity that could be exploited and used as a catalyst for change.
International and national interventions aimed at strengthening the poultry sector are important for reducing hunger and alleviating poverty, but the promotion of poultry raising within dynamic agricultural systems goes far beyond nutritional satiation and rising of rural farming incomes. If the poultry sector is seen from a broader perspective it becomes easier to realize the wider repercussions it has on political, economic, cultural and social spheres.
Some of the far less publicized contributions of poultry sector-related activities to diverse societal systems all around the world are:
In light of the mounting attention that the poultry sector has received from news media all around the world in relation to H5N1 highly pathogenic avian influenza (H5N1 HPAI), it is critically important to mention and promote the direct and indirect societal contributions of the poultry sector to wider audiences. Such information should also respond to the pressures from environmentally-conscious stakeholders regarding the negative externalities of greenhouse gas emissions (e.g. methane) that are caused by variegated poultry production systems.
Acknowledging that poultry production systems can have negative environmental impacts if certain specific issues like waste management are not properly addressed is important. Providing guidance to the poultry sectors in the form of best practices and lessons learned in relation to emerging concerns is therefore essential.
The Animal Production and Health Division (AGA) of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is committed to the fight against avian and other animal influenzas as well as against other economically-important livestock diseases. AGA is at the forefront in providing guidelines on the maintenance of healthy and productive farm animals that make important contributions to food production, income generation, job creation, economic growth, and poverty alleviation.