Strengthening food and nutrition security through family poultry and crop integration

Enhancing the traditional village chicken-crop system

We believe working within this system will help to provide a sustainable solution to the ongoing nutritional challenges in Africa. Rural communities that rely on rain fed crops often go through severe hunger periods just prior to the major harvesting season when their stored grains have been exhausted. These significant peaks and troughs in household food availability are reduced when there is diversity in family farming activities. By improving village poultry health and welfare, families have greater access to poultry meat and eggs which are a source of high quality protein, bioavailable micronutrients and income. Poultry manure can also contribute to increased soil fertility for the production of indigenous vegetables at the household level, further diversifying the range of foods eaten.

Tanzania country snapshot

Zambia country snapshot

Nkuku4U: Tanzania and Zambia

 ‘Nkuku’ means chicken in Nyanja, one of the local languages in the project field site in Zambia. This project started in February 2014 and finished in January 2019. 

Food and nutrition security in Tanzania and Zambia

Food and nutrition security are particularly crucial in Tanzania and Zambia where the national prevalence of stunting (chronic restriction of growth) in children under five years of age is over 30%. Sustainably addressing the nutrition component of food security in Tanzania and Zambia is critical and was raised as a priority by senior government personnel in both countries. Also, as research indicates that resources under the control of women are more likely to be used to support the education and nutrition of children, the project sought to test if improving women’s production of family poultry and crops can have a beneficial impact on children’s overall nutritional status and health.

Interdisciplinary project team

Funded by the Australian Centre of International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) and led by the University of Sydney, Kyeema worked in partnership with multiple international organisations to help achieve the project goals. 

With thanks to our partners

KYEEMA University of Sydney


The interdisciplinary team was bound together by two key aims:
1. To reduce childhood undernutrition by enhancing the key role that women play in improving poultry and crop integration and efficiency to strengthen household nutrition; and
2. To assess how strategic investments in agriculture and livestock can best contribute positively to human health and, by so doing, encourage strategic investments by national Ministries of Finance and donor agencies.


  • Assess the existing family poultry-crop systems and poultry value chains.
  • Improve the integration and efficiency of family poultry-crop systems and poultry value chains.
  • Assess the role of women and impact of improved family poultry-crop systems interventions on childhood undernutrition.
  • Support capacity building of and catalyse strategic long-term partnerships between key institutions and individuals associated with family poultry, food security, and sustainable agriculture.


• An ACIAR Veterinary Cold Chain Manual has been produced, translated into French and printed in hard copy;

• Quality relationships established with stakeholders;

• Poultry-crop systems and poultry value chains characterised and assessed;

• Potential food safety issues and feasible solutions identified;

• Research protocols developed and approved;

• Nutritional awareness material developed, tested and promoted;

• Transdisciplinary methodologies developed and implemented; and

• Findings and lessons learnt shared with key stakeholders and published.


• Capacity built in the next generation of agricultural researchers in Tanzania, Zambia and Australia;

• Sustainable knowledge management and sharing processes established; and

• Policy guidelines published in-country and widely shared.

Website by Sprout Projects, Paolo Curray and Faith Considine