Item Details

Title: The role of poultry in peoples livelihoods in Uganda

Date Published: January 2009
Author/s: Andrew Ellias State, Patrick B. Birungi, Nicoline de Haan
Data publication:
Funding Agency :
Copyright/patents/trade marks: FAO
Journal Publisher: FAO
Affiliation: Food and Agriculture Organization of
the United Nations (FAO), Makerere University


The Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) circulating virus affects the poultry sector
worldwide. While HPAI can lead wiping out of the entire poultry at ago, rural families who
partly depend on poultry farming for survival would find it a problem to survive in such a
situation. Majority of the rural population take domestic birds, especially chicken as a ‘bank’
from where they easily convert physical capital to financial, cultural and social capital to cater
for school fees, health care, and other domestic needs. Poultry in Africa, though an important
component of livelihoods, has not featured seriously in the policy arena. The problem is worse
where poultry farming depends on a free range and smallholder production systems, which
increase the chance of exposure to domestic poultry’s interaction with wild birds with a high
likelihood of disease transmission. The problem also exists where an outbreak of a disease
leads to undifferentiated culling that may end up decimating unique poultry genetic resources
of local breeds. In addition, conditions of livelihood uncertainties may set in become worse for
free-range poultry farming systems commonly practiced in many households in poor
communities. The free-range system exposes domestic poultry interaction with not only wild
birds but also infected birds from the neighbouring homes, which makes the likelihood of
disease transmission possible and fast. The situation becomes worse, especially in urban areas
where local authorities fail to cater for safe transportation means of poultry products from far off distances that increase the risk of spread of diseases.

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