Happy Chickens in Fiji
Kyeema works with SELF
Kyeema Foundation, with funding from Palladium’s Lets Make It Possible Communities Fund, has supported the work of a Fijian NGO – Sustainable Environmental Livelihoods for the Future (SELF) – since February 2017.
SELF promotes poverty alleviation in Fiji and the South Pacific through livelihoods development; supporting self-sufficient, prosperous and risk resilient communities that are adapted to climate change and committed to conserving nature. With their best-practice sustainable land management, permaculture and diversified small-scale farm productivity model, SELF aims to be an inspiration to Pacific Island youth and the wider community on how they might develop their land and resources for a more prosperous future.
Fiji Quick Facts
Fiji – climate change
Fiji is highly vulnerable to the effects of climate-related disasters. In 2016, over 60% of the population were adversely affected by Cyclone Winston, the worst recorded tropical cyclone to make landfall in the South Pacific. Climate-related disasters are increasing in frequency and intensity in Fiji, and with such devastating effects on infrastructure and food security, many vulnerable households have insufficient time to recover.
A key solution – improving local chickens
Fijians rely heavily on imports for up to 50% of their food consumption. Poultry ranks second to seafood as the most important protein source for South Pacific Nations, but the industry is dominated by commercial factory-type farms completely reliant on imported chicks. These are poorly suited to village conditions, require expensive imported feeds to ensure productivity, and do not breed well in local conditions, further exacerbating food insecurity. Through selective breeding of local chickens, SELF has created a diverse and more productive breed that is well adapted to local conditions and that great potential for improving food and nutrition security in Fiji and other Pacific islands. During the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic the importation of day old chicks and feeds have virtually stopped, making the project even more important for food security at this time.
Training in farm-based breeding, feeding, and housing of chickens will help to ensure that improved chicken breeds continue to flourish generation after generation in rural communities.
Local hatcheries set up by key farmers as a small business venture will help to build self-sufficiency and long term food security.
Purchase of fertile eggs from farmers during recurring low laying period during the hot summer season will also help to build sustainability of the hatcheries over time through cooperation and partnerships.
1. Increase demand for climate-adapted chickens for cyclone rehabilitation and food security in South Pacific communities.
2. Build capacity for breeding climate-adapted chickens at a community level to build self-sufficiency and long term food security.
3. Improve village poultry husbandry and sustainability through improved housing and production of local feeds.
4. Promote training and education in smallholder poultry and related subjects through continued programs for training village poultry breeders.
5. Promote measures to improve the health and production of village poultry – SELF has a vision to encourage the conversion of cage farming of eggs into free range happy chickens methods, to save money for the farmers and to prevent cruelty.
6. Evaluate and optimise the potential of rural poultry genetic resources.
SELF has so far run over ten “Happy Chicken” workshops for communities and has distributed small 90-egg incubators to six remote communities in Fiji and Vanuatu. SELF plans to hatch 10,000 climate adapted chicks each year at is hatchery, exporting at least 1,000 chicks to Kiribati and Vanuatu and possibly other neighbouring countries in the near future, in order to set up improved breeding flocks in each country, to meet local needs, impacting at least 3,000 families. This is expected to lead to:
• Increased numbers of locally bred chicks available at community-level
• Increased chick sales and chick exports
• Continued improvements in island chickens through selective breeding
• Increased chicken health through improved free-range methods
• Increased availability of local breed chicken meat, eggs and income from chicken and egg sales for households.
• Women’s empowerment through increased income earning potential with a sustainable small business solution.