The Australian village poultry development programme in Asia and

The Australian village poultry development programme in Asia and
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DOI: 10.1079/WPS200439
The Australian village poultry
development programme in Asia and
Africa
J.W. COPLAND1 and R.G. ALDERS2*
1
Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research, GPO Box 1571,
Canberra ACT 2601, Australia; 2AusAID Southern Africa Newcastle Disease
Control Project, CP 1168, Maputo, Mozambique
*Corresponding author: [email protected]
Village poultry play a vital role in many poor rural households. They provide scarce
animal protein (in the form of meat and eggs) and can be sold/bartered to meet
essential family needs such as medicine, clothes and school fees. They also provide
manure and pest control as well as being used in traditional ceremonies. Village
poultry are generally owned and managed by women and children and improving
their production can provide the first step out of poverty for the rural poor.
The Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) has
supported village poultry research in many countries since 1984. This research has
had some significant outcomes including: the control of Newcastle disease (ND) using
Australian derived live thermotolerant vaccines in a variety of poultry production
systems in several countries; description and quantification of the scavenging feed
resource base of low input/low output systems; development of gender-sensitive
extension materials and methodologies suitable for use in remote rural areas in Asia
and Africa; and the development and registration of a new duck plague vaccine in
Vietnam.
The thermotolerant ND I-2 vaccine remains viable for periods away from the cold
chain, can be administered by various routes and induces an acceptable level of
protection under village conditions. The vaccine master seed, together with the ND
Laboratory Manual, is made available without cost by ACIAR.
In developing countries where ND is endemic, outbreaks regularly result in high
mortalities and in countries where it is not endemic, sporadic outbreaks make
vaccination advisable. The implementation of an effective ND control programme in
countries in Africa and Asia has resulted in increased chicken numbers, increased
household purchasing power, increased home consumption of chicken products and
increased decision-making power for women.
However, sustainable programmes for the control of ND in village chickens have
been difficult to achieve, often due to limited appreciation by official agencies of the
benefits of village poultry. Experience has shown that a sustainable ND control
programme is composed of five essential components: a) an appropriate vaccine and
vaccine technology; b) effective extension materials and methodologies that target
veterinary and extension staff, community vaccinators and farmers; c) simple
evaluation and monitoring systems; d) economic sustainability based on the
© World’s Poultry Science Association 2005
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commercialisation of the vaccine and vaccination services and the marketing of
surplus chickens and eggs; and e) support and coordination by relevant government
agencies for the promotion of vaccination programmes.
Details of ND control in village poultry are provided on the ACIAR website,
www.aciar.gov.au and by the Australian Agency for International Development
www.ausaid.gov.au.
Keywords: village poultry; Newcastle disease; disease control and extension;
thermotolerant vaccine; Duck plague vaccine
Introduction
Village poultry play a vital and often under-valued role in rural development in many poor
rural households and are a global asset for many millions who live below the poverty line.
For instance, they provide scarce animal protein in the form of meat and eggs and can be
sold or bartered to meet essential family needs such as medicine, clothes and school fees.
They are generally owned and managed by women and children (Guèye, 2000;
Spradbrow, 1993-94). Village chickens are used in many special festivals and ceremonies,
and they provides manure and pest control.
Village chickens require the lowest capital investment of any livestock species and they
have a short production cycle. They also play an important role in households where there
is a lack of able-bodied workers, due to wars, HIV/AIDS and those that have a disabled or
elderly family member. In households headed by widows, children or grandparents,
chickens represent the easiest species to raise for sale and home consumption, providing a
source of high quality protein and vitamins that play an important role in the nutrition of
HIV/AIDS patients. Improved village poultry production is often the first step in poverty
alleviation and asset generation.
Recognising the role that village poultry could play in poverty alleviation and household
food security, the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) has
supported village poultry research in many countries in Asia and Africa since its inception
in 1983. This research has included: the control of Newcastle disease (ND) using
Australian derived live, thermotolerant vaccines; understanding the scavenging feed
resource base of low input/low output village poultry systems; the diagnosis and control
of duck plague; and the development of gender-sensitive extension materials for the
improvement of extensive poultry production systems and methodologies suitable for use
in remote rural areas in Asia and Africa.
Control of Newcastle disease
One of the major constraints to production of village chickens is Newcastle disease (ND;
Alders and Spradbrow, 2001a; Alexander, 1991). In countries where ND is endemic,
outbreaks of this disease regularly result in mortalities of 50 to 100%. In developing
countries where ND is not endemic, outbreaks may occur less frequently but potential
losses due to the disease make vaccination mandatory.
Since 1984, the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) has
been supporting collaborative research on the control of ND in village chickens (Alders,
2003; Copland, 1992). The origins of the project reflected the importance of ND in
Southeast Asia and the lack of appropriate vaccines for village chicken farming systems.
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It also built on earlier experience and research interests of Australian and Asian partner
countries and their strategies for disease control.
Investigations into the control of ND in Southeast Asia and Africa have involved:
– Laboratory testing of thermotolerant, live ND vaccines; NDV4-HR (Ideris et al., 1987)
and I-2 (Bensink and Spradbrow, 1999);
– Field testing of these vaccines;
– The development of appropriate extension material; and
– Attention to cost-recovery and cost minimisation issues.
Details of the materials and methods used may be found in three ACIAR Proceedings
edited by Alders and Spradbrow (2001b), Copland (1987) and Spradbrow (1992).
Initial ND control activities focussed on the development of a ND vaccine that was
suitable for use in difficult rural conditions where the cold chain is often absent or
unreliable. The NDV4-HR and I-2 ND vaccines proved to perform well under these
adverse conditions (Alders and Spradbrow, 2001a, 2001b). It is important to note that
while these vaccines are thermotolerant, they are still biological products that will
eventually lose their potency if exposed to sunlight or excessive temperatures for long
periods. The NDV4-HR vaccine is a commercial vaccine and can be purchased when
foreign exchange is available. For countries where foreign exchange is not readily
available, ACIAR has provided the I-2 ND vaccine master seed free of charge to enable a
ND vaccine suitable for use in village chickens to be produced locally (Alders and
Spradbrow, 2001a). However, it became apparent that to make ND control activities
sustainable attention had to be given to social and economic implications of ND control in
communities. The basic objective of ND control in village chickens is to improve food
security in and assist with poverty alleviation of rural and peri-urban households.
Sustainable food security is linked directly to sustainable livelihoods. A livelihood is
sustainable when it can cope with and recover from stresses and shocks and maintains or
enhances its capabilities and assets both now and in the future, while not undermining the
natural resource base (DFID, 2001). The robustness of village poultry in Asia has been
well demonstrated in the financial crisis of 1997 and the recent Avian Influenza epidemic.
The implementation of an effective ND control programme in countries such as
Mozambique has resulted in increased chicken numbers, increased household purchasing
power, increased home consumption of chicken products and increased decision-making
power for women (Bagnol, 2001). In the south of Mozambique, women have been able to
sell excess chickens in order to buy goats and eventually cattle, thus giving them access to
resources previously denied to them as ruminants have been traditionally raised by men.
Where families allocate chickens to children, the children may sell their chickens to buy
school supplies. Despite the need to control ND in village chickens, it has been difficult to
achieve a sustainable control programme. Experience has shown that a sustainable ND
control programme is composed of five essential components:
– An appropriate vaccine, vaccine technology and vaccine distribution mechanisms;
– Effective extension materials and methodologies that target veterinary and extension
staff as well as community vaccinators and farmers;
– Simple evaluation and monitoring systems of both technical and socio-economic
indicators;
– Economic sustainability based on the commercialisation of the vaccine and vaccination
services and the marketing of surplus chickens and eggs and;
– Support and coordination by relevant government agencies for the promotion of
vaccination programmes.
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The thermotolerant ND I-2 vaccine Mmaster seed, together with copies of the ACIAR
ND Laboratory Manual, is made available to interested countries without cost by ACIAR
to allow sustainable local production of the I-2 ND vaccine.
Currently, AusAID is funding a ND control project in rural areas in Malawi,
Mozambique and Tanzania. ACIAR is funding a ND control project in Myanmar to
improve the production and quality control of the I-2 vaccine and its field usage. These
projects all build on the findings of previous ACIAR and AusAID projects.
The ND control technology developed has been made freely available by ACIAR and it
has been used in Bhutan, Cambodia, Ghana, Lao PDR, Malawi, Malaysia, Mozambique,
Myanmar, Senegal, Tanzania and Vietnam with support from other donor agencies
including the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID), the Food and
Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), the International Fund for
Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the World Bank.
Diagnosis and control of duck plague
Duck Plague is an acute, contagious infection of ducks, muscovy ducks, geese, swans and
other species of the order Anseriformes. The disease can affect ducks of any age, causing
a high level of mortality or a drop in egg production. In Vietnam, duck plague is a major
constraint to duck production.
A polymerase chain reaction (PCR) method for the detection of duck plague virus
(DPV) using two primers designed by the Australian Animal Health Laboratory has been
established at the National Veterinary Company Laboratory in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
(Phuuc et al., 2003). The primers have been shown to differentiate DPV from other DNA
viruses such as fowl pox virus, porcine parvovirus, Marek’s disease virus, infectious
laryngotracheitis virus and Aujeszky’s disease virus. This PCR technique was found to be
more sensitive and specific than the ELISA technique in detection of DPV.
A new duck plague vaccine has been developed in Vietnam with ACIAR support. An
existing Chinese vaccine strain was confirmed to be efficacious against contemporary
challenge strains. This strain, initially grown in duck eggs was adapted to growth in
chicken eggs and then to chicken cell cultures. This greatly reduces the risk of spreading
duck pathogens with the vaccine. The new vaccine is now registered for use throughout
Vietnam.
Scavenging Feed Resource Base
The major input to the village poultry production system is the scavenging feed resource
base (SFRB) that comprises household waste, crop by-products and the gleanings of
gardens, fields and wasteland. Roberts (1992) and colleagues from James Cook University
developed a simple model for the village chicken production system in which the chicken
population and the yield from it are determined by the capacity of the SFRB. Estimates of
the size of the SRFB in different systems are made and the efficiency with which the
resource is utilised in the production of high quality protein for human consumption can
be calculated.
The data on the SFRB can be used in many ways to assess options for improving the
productivity of scavenging village chickens under varying conditions. The efficiencies of
different production systems can be compared, options for minimising wastage can be
assessed, appropriate nutritional inputs to the systems can be planned and preliminary
assessments made of the benefits which might be derived, and the potential benefits of
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simple husbandry changes such as creep feeding can be determined. As an example, in the
village flocks studied by Gunaratne et al. (1991) in Sri Lanka, the 22.4 kg of protein in the
SFRB produced 0.6 kg of meat protein and 2.6 kg of egg protein. So the efficiency with
which the family flock converted the protein in the SFRB into protein for human
consumption was 14%.
Development of gender-sensitive extension materials and methodologies
suitable for use in rural areas
Village chickens are generally owned and managed by women and children and are often
essential elements of female-headed households. By learning who does what in village
chicken production, we can help them do it better. Outlining tasks associated with the
production of village chickens according to age and gender helps to determine who in the
family should be targeted when developing extension material associated with various
aspects of poultry production.
The sustainable control of ND requires that all involved in the control process have
access to key information that will enable them to make sound decisions that will support
the successful implementation of activities. Information packages are essential for every
link in the chain between the production of the vaccine and the chicken that is to be
vaccinated. Information should be presented in a clear and consistent manner and pretested (Zimmerman et al., 1996) prior to wide circulation.
A comprehensive ND control extension package has been produced by ACIAR that can
be adapted for use in many places. The package comprises:
– A ND field manual. This 112 page manual entitled ‘Controlling Newcastle disease in
village chickens: A Field Manual’, aims to provide information to senior veterinarians
and veterinary field staff on ND and its control (Alders and Spradbrow, 2001a).
– A ND training manual. The 128 page manual entitled ‘Controlling Newcastle disease
in village chickens: A Training Manual’ is for trainers of community vaccinators and
provides guidance on the preparation, implementation and evaluation of a three day
training course for community vaccinators (Alders et al., 2002).
– A ND laboratory manual. This 142 page manual details the small-scale production and
quality control of live, thermotolerant ND vaccine (Young et al., 2002).
– A flip chart. This illustrated A3 flip chart, with clear, largely self-explanatory line
drawings and an accompanying narrative can be used for training and in the field, with
farmers, to explain the characteristics of the vaccine and its application. Local frontline
extension staff translate the narrative into the appropriate local language.
– A ND control extension handbook. This booklet provides basic information for
extension workers on the control of ND using live thermotolerant vaccine; the
organisation of vaccination campaigns; conservation and transport of vaccines;
monitoring field activities; diagnosis of ND; determining the price of vaccine
administration by community vaccinators; calibrating eye droppers; marketing of
surplus chickens and eggs; and information on HIV/AIDS.
– A poster. The poster shows a large black and white line drawing of a rooster, ND
vaccine vials and an eye-dropper and provides space for the local vaccinator to write the
place, date, time and contact person for the next ND vaccination campaign.
– A pamphlet. This pamphlet provides an introduction to ND and its control and is useful
for front line extension staff, literate farmers, farmers’ associations and school children.
It is printed on both sides of an A4 sheet and is easily reproduced.
– A ND vaccination calendar. The calendar highlights the months in which vaccination
campaigns should be implemented, prompts vaccinators to get their orders for vaccine
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in well before the campaign begins and reminds distributors when they should have the
vaccine in stock.
Most of these items can be downloaded from the village poultry website
(www.kyeemafoundation.org) sponsored by ACIAR and AusAID and managed by the
University of Queensland and GRM International or the ACIAR website
(www.aciar.gov.au).
AusAID has also sponsored the publication of monographs in many countries, including
‘A simple guide to managing village poultry in South Africa’ (Farrell, 2000) and ‘The
Southern African Chicken Book: How to start a small business keeping chickens’ (Wethli,
1999). AusAID is currently funding the preparation of a manual entitled ‘Improving
village chicken production: a comprehensive extension and field manual’ (Ahlers et al.,
2005) that will be available for distribution in 2005.
Conclusion
The improved production of village poultry can make a vital contribution to the
improvement of household food security, poverty alleviation and HIV/AIDS mitigation in
many developing countries. Thermotolerant ND vaccine, simple housing and
supplementary feeding provide an opportunity for rural communities to develop a robust
extensive poultry production system that can be intensified as circumstances permit. The
Australian government’s aid programme prioritises HIV/AIDS, food security and rural
development and the provision of support to village poultry research and development is
an appropriate way to address these important issues.
Acknowledgements
The authors would like to acknowledge the support given to village poultry research and
development by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR)
and the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID). Thanks go to all
those village poultry researchers, veterinarians, extension workers and farmers in many
countries with whom the authors have collaborated over the past two decades.
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