Development practitioners are using smallholder poultry as a tool for poverty alleviation. Prospect of smallholder poultry is also discussed within the context of industrialisation of the poultry sector and problems of smallholders to access markets. A smallholder poultry development model for poverty alleviation has been developed and applied in Bangladesh. Parallel development of the concept has occurred in several other countries and further dissemination is underway. Limited evidence from a few impact studies on several poultry projects show positive results in terms of the number of beneficiaries reached, their increased income, consumption, nutrition, expenditure, savings and empowerment of women. They also show varying degrees of performance of the input supply and services, e.g. credit, day old chicks, research, training and capacity building. But these studies and results suffer from major methodological deficiencies, so can’t be relied upon fully to guide and back up the approach and required investment in the field. Empirical evidence on efficiency of large versus small-scale operations also indicate that small commercial poultry may face problems of survival in a competitive market environment unless appropriate institutional mechanisms for their market participation are developed. There is a need to support development efforts in smallholder poultry with research and capacity building including development and adaptation of vaccines against major diseases, feeding and nutrition management, efficacy and economics of alternative production and service delivery models, competitiveness with commercial poultry in the context of market liberalisation, globalisation and economies of scale in commercial poultry, and pathways of impact of interventions among the poor. Public research can play important role in these research issues. Given the diversity of ecological, production systems, socio-economic and cultural contexts across developing countries where this concept needs to be tested and applied, highly decentralised participatory adaptive research is needed using diverse approaches to exchange experiences for mutual learning and reduce duplication of efforts. Such exchanges can be facilitated by creating platforms or networks where the main stakeholders in the field can regularly come together to develop a shared vision and identify effective ways to influence policy makers to ensure that research findings are incorporated into policies for poverty alleviation. ILRI needs to carefully examine how it can complement efforts of other players in the field with its many years of experience in conducting participatory, multidisciplinary, systems oriented livestock research and training in partnership with national research institutions in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia. ILRI’s excellent laboratories are a potential resource to back up field oriented research where needed. ILRI’s experience in conducting policy dialogues may also help to create a poultry-focused platform for bringing together various stakeholders.

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 Record created 2017-04-01, last modified 2018-01-22

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