Increasing the native chicken market in support of smallholder farmers in Mozambique and Uganda.

Naked neck trait in a native chicken in Mozambique. Photo credit: Rosa Costa

The ‘Native Chicken Project’ funded by the European Commission through the African Union Commission, is being implemented in Mozambique (Fundação Kyeema with the lead institution, University Eduardo Mondlane [UEM] and Directorate of Animal Sciences [DCA]) and in Uganda (Gulu and Makerere Universities , Wougnet and Chick Masters Limited). The key outcomes of the project are to: 1) improve the productive traits of the native chicken breeds (or ecotypes as they are known); and 2) assess the effectiveness of different cooperative smallholder production models for building the value chain in Mozambique and Uganda.

In Mozambique we are working with project partners in Maputo Province, Namaacha, Marracuene and Magude Districts. The project was delayed due to a COVID-19 lockdown in March 2020, with re-commencement of activities when there was partial lifting of the lockdown in June 2020. At this time the team began characterising native chicken ecotypes, their production systems and the whole value chain. They collected biological and socio-economic data on native chicken production and identified constraints and opportunities for smallholders. They also worked with farmers to understand the main problems households face with chicken diseases and how they have been overcome, and they investigated the main local feed resources, including their availability at different times of the year.

Rose comb trait in a native chicken in Mozambique. Photo credit: Rosa Costa

Genetic analyses are underway to understand the distinct native chicken ecotypes in each country. Cross-breeding the most popular (farmer-voted) of these is also underway to hopefully improve their productive capability, whilst retaining resilient traits for their environments (tolerance to heat, feed scarcity and disease resistance). We look forward to continued work with our partners in 2021 to achieve the key outcomes.

Project partners in Mozambique