Women at forefront of poultry raising
|12 avril 2010 – Poultry plays a significant part in the culture of Egypt – not least in the prominent role it provides women in the country.
"Egypt is a densely settled population where arable land is scarce. As raising poultry requires less land it represents an area women can have more access to," explains Zahra Ahmed, FAO national project coordinator.
"In addition it is a family-friendly and fairly time-flexible enterprise that allows women to adjust their schedule around other home-related chores."
Unlike in the case of larger livestock, often women also control the marketing of poultry and poultry products, with money raised going to household items.
“In Egypt, almost all women inherit indigenous technical knowledge on rearing, housing, feeding birds and they transfer it to their girls. No taboos are associated with rearing or eating birds.
“The rearing of birds dates back to the pharaoh era and is depicted on ancient hieroglyphics. In Egypt we say that where you find people, you will find birds. They are also an important symbolically. Birds are given as a gift to signal friendship between families and to settle any problems in communities.”
Given the role of women in poultry rearing, it is not a surprise to see three female farmers leading the way during an information session at a veterinary centre in Basyun District.
They are taking part in a process called "participatory disease surveillance."
This is part of an FAO/government project where extension workers tap into local knowledge to learn about the location of home-raised poultry and visit the owners to advise them on measures to avoid avian influenza.
It is running parallel to another project promoting biosecurity measures to help prevent the disease.
“I come here to give information and when I’m facing any problems,” says Intisar Mohammad Alkhoaly, who raises chickens, ducks and pigeons.
Ahmed Saad, FAO coordinator for this project, said the information provided by the women is priceless.
“They have the local knowledge that we don’t have, they know where the poultry are kept and how they are being kept. We can draw up a map based on what they tell us then visit the farms to offer help.”