While still under discussion by wider academic and professional communities, the report’s “healthy reference diet” advocates for a 50% reduction of red meat and a 100% increase in the consumption of legumes, nuts, fruit and vegetables. The diet also advocates for a low to moderate amount of seafood and poultry consumption.
However, where communities do not have access to nutritionally dense food, particularly in Sub–Saharan Africa, the report acknowledges that animal-source foods can improve dietary quality, micronutrient intake, nutrient status and overall health.
Fortunately, village chickens are an environmentally sustainable and nutritionally-dense source of food. In contrast to intensively-raised poultry whose feed production and transport contributes to greenhouse gas emissions, village chickens’ carbon and water footprints are low.
Village chickens are a vital component of the interaction between crop and livestock production. These chickens do not require commercial feed and instead scavenge, eating pests and other foodstuffs not consumed by people, in the process. Their manure is also nutrient dense and adds organic matter to soils, improving water-holding capacity and structure.