Free range poultry farming innovation in Serengeti Mara Ecosystem | Institutional Innovations (Innovations, Training Services & Management Practices)
Free range poultry farming is an alternative chicken rearing systemfor egg and chicken meat production (Figure 1). However, there is a generallack of awareness of the potential of this system at household level in theregion. Many local people do not eat chicken meat or eggs, or rear poultry inthe SME. Free range poultry production system provides the farmer and consumerwith a choice over the methods by which eggs and meat are produced. It is alsoconsidered an environmentally sustainable land use practice which can beachieved by limiting the stocking densities of birds outside the shed.
Free range system allows poultry birds to exhibit their natural behavioralinstincts. Free range chickens are left to roam during daylight hours but aresecured at night in order to protect them from inclement weather and predators.This innovation works well in vast areas of land available in the SME. Thepractice could be used to generate sustainable businesses in villages to ensurea positive cash flow, particularly for women and youth to help them becomeeconomically self-sustaining.
Figure 1:Free range traditional poultry breeds in community areas in the SME
The validation process used participatory tools and techniquesdeveloped through stakeholder consultations. The local communities, poultryindustry, hotel and hospitality industry and traders are the ultimatebeneficiaries from this management practice.
Rearing of local chicken or traditional poultry breeds on freerange is widely practiced among rural farmers in the region. To reach morefarmers, there is need to raise awareness about rearing local chicken as anincome generating enterprise or business. Also there is need to disseminateinformation to farmers and train them on management of local poultry birds.Adopting farmers also need to be connected to the market and other value chainactors.
This range management practice provides a plausible alternativesystem for commercial production of eggs and chicken meat at low cost comparedto alternative poultry systems. It’s cheaper than the conventional systems interms of reduced costs of feeding, housing and treatment of chicken thus increasingprofitability of chicken enterprise. The practice benefits household nutritionthrough increased egg and chicken production.
Practices related to gender imbalancesespecially on land and benefit sharing and utilization of natural resourcessuch as biodiversity exist in Serengeti Mara Ecosystem. Women still facenumerous challenges in terms of land ownership. However, both women and youthare able to implement this ecological and biologically friendly managementpractice which can provide them an alternative means of income and livelihood.Like in the previous case, this innovative practice requires the government tofacilitate gender analysis, participation and affirmative action inbiodiversity management through gender-sensitive legislation, promote genderawareness and involvement in the project activities in order for the targetgender categories to benefit.
There is increased interest in promoting intensive poultry productionin the SME. Nonetheless, this does not negate the importance of free-rangeextensive production, especially since intensive production entails hugefinancial outlays.
Fiks-van Niekerk, Th. G. C. M. 2001. Organic poultry farming: asmall but growing concept. Proceedings of the 6th European Symposium on PoultryWelfare. pp.35-37, Zollikofen, Switzerland.
Glatz, P. C. and Y. J. Ru. 2002. Free-range poultry in apasture/crop rotation system: Proceedings 2002 Poultry Information Exchange 14-16April 2002. Poultry Information Exchange Association Inc. pp. 7-10, CabooltureQueensland, Australia.