How improved local poultry can tackle poverty, malnutrition
• Firm to empower households with 10 million Noiler birds
The UNICEF, through its Communications Specialist in the West Africa, Mr. Doune Porter, warned that 90,000 children could die of severe acute malnutrition in 2018 and more in 2019 (approximately 240 deaths each day) unless the international community takes swift actions.
Unfortunately, children and women are more vulnerable to these two great enemies of humanity called malnutrition and poverty.
The past National President of the Poultry Association of Nigeria (PAN) and Group Managing Director, Amo Farm Sieberer Hatchery Ltd, Dr Ayoola Oduntan, however, has disclosed how the dual-purpose Nigeria-bred bird, Noiler, can help tame poverty and malnutrition in the country.
Oduntan said Amo Farm Sieberer Hatchery had been pro-active on the need to combat these vices by conducting a resilient research from 2003 to 2014, and successfully developed a dual-purpose bird, Noiler, to tame and possibly eradicate poverty and malnutrition in Nigeria.
He explained this while speaking at the media campaign on Noiler Bird Initiative in Lagos, on Tuesday.
“The initiative was developed for the grass-root level in Nigeria and Africa at large. The bird is for backyard poultry production and they are developed to provide readily available sources of eggs and meat (to tame malnutrition) for households across the length and breadth of Nigeria and Africa.
“These birds are affordable, enduring, and easy to handle. They produce eggs four times more than their native counterparts. While the male matures to table weight of about 2.5kg in 14 weeks, while the native bird will take 10 months to get 1.5kg body weight,” he said.
Oduntan explained that the initiative was designed to ensure that the 90,000 children or more, whom UNICEF said could die of severe acute malnutrition are safe and the quality of life in the rural areas in Nigeria, especially women, is improved by enhancing their income opportunities while providing quality source of proteins for them and essentially, their children.
The initiative is built on a business model that breeds day-old-chicks till they are five weeks old and smallholding farmers (majorly women) buy off the 5 weeks old birds and raise them for food consumption, to make income and egg production for sale (to drastically tame poverty) and consumption.
Our objectives for the Noiler initiative are to curb hunger; give back impactful and practically to the society at large; reduce maternal mortality; create additional income opportunity for women and youth in the rural area; contribute to global food security and encourage gender equality, the breeder said.
“As a result of partnerships and collaboration with some local and international non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and some state governments, we have distributed over 12 million birds across the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory as at March 2019, and ready to do more. Our goal for this year 2019 is to distribute about 10 million Noiler birds with more collaborations and partnerships locally and globally. This will go a long way in ensuring more people consume protein at the daily recommended range in rural Nigeria,” Oduntan disclosed to journalists.
The success of the initiative, he said, is anchored in the resilience to make positive impact with the goals and the overall achievement of these would be dependent on collaboration, partnerships with institutions on the same goals, armed with the rugged poultry breed as an effective tool to surpass the goals.
“To reach more people,” Oduntan added, “we will need more institutions to join the Noiler Movement. We have already staffed and equipped representatives who train and assist the women and recipients within 36 states in Nigeria and so we are equipped to produce results.”
He urged journalists to “Support the cause with your pens and as more stakeholders come to the awareness, may we be able to live an indelible mark in the sands of time and in our generation that through us, more people will rise above poverty and malnutrition baselines.”
The Chief Operating Officer of AFSH, Dr Anand Burra, said that the initiative would help eradicate poverty and malnutrition in the country, especially in the rural areas, saying chicken and egg still remain luxurious food for most of the rural population.
The current average daily protein intake of about 8-13g is far below the recommended minimum daily protein intake of 20g for developing countries. A person needs 1gm protein per every kilo of body weight per day for normal growth and development. The Noiler can help in bridging the gap in the daily standard consumption for protein, which 20grm/person/day.
Taking a scenario of a family of five with at least 24 Noiler birds, each member can gain additional 16grm/person/day of protein from its eggs and meat, he argued.
He said: “The Noiler birds are affordable, enduring, and easy to rear. They produce eggs four times more than their native counterparts. While the male matures to table weight of between 2.0 and 2.5kg at 14 weeks, while the native chicken takes 10 months to gain 1.5kg body weight under similar conditions.
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