In the fight to improve global health, alleviate hunger, raise living standards and empower women in the developing world, chickens have an important role to play.
Jagdev Sharma, a researcher at the Center for Infectious Diseases and Vaccinology at Arizona State University's Biodesign Institute has been investigating the advantages of a more productive species of chicken for villagers in rural Uganda. He reports his findings this week at the American Veterinary Medical Association Meeting in Saint Louis, Missouri.
The star of this developing story is a type of chicken known as the Kuroiler. As Sharma notes, it has already shown enormous promise in lifting villagers out of the cycle of economic poverty and nutritional stress in some of the poorest regions:
"The success of the Kuroiler chicken in India, where it was first introduced, makes us hopeful for similar improvements in rural Africa, particularly, in Uganda, where our initial results show the Kuroiler significantly outperforming native chickens."
Kuroilers are hybrid chickens, well suited to resource-poor village environments. They have been genetically selected to provide both meat and eggs and are able to survive and thrive on agricultural and household waste, requiring no additional feed.
The birds were developed by Keggfarms, a company based in Gurgaon, India and known for its pioneering efforts to improve rural conditions and provide nutritional security through household poultry keeping. Kuroilers were distributed in India to over 1 million households.
Women in rural locales in Africa (as well as India) are often responsible for raising chickens, which supply meat and eggs, as well as providing a vital source of income. Sharma is hoping to duplicate the Indian success story with Kuroilers in Africa, thanks to collaboration between Arizona State University and the Government of Uganda.
Chickens and their eggs are a vital
|Contact: Joseph Caspermeyer|
Arizona State University