Broilers in urban zimbabwe


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Broilers in urban zimbabwe

  1. 1. Broiler Production in an Urban and Peri-urban Area of Zimbabwe Eddington Gororo1, Rutendo Nhombo1 and Mabel T. Kashangura2 1Department 2Department of Animal Production & Technology, Chinhoyi University of Technology, P. Bag 7724 Chinhoyi of Animal Science, University of Zimbabwe. P. O. Box MP167 Mt Pleasant Harare Abstract Broiler production is assuming an important role in the livelihoods of urban and peri-urban households in Zimbabwe. A survey was carried out to characterise urban broiler production in Marondera. Findings showed that broiler producers have quite diverse livelihoods, combining various income sources and resources. Broiler production units are small-scale (mean: 398 birds per cycle, range 25-3,500), informal and fragmented backyard businesses founded on a gender-based division of labour. Flock sizes, stocking densities, reported mortality rates and marketing aspects (size, age, and channel) are varied in the study area. Commercial broiler strains are intensively managed (stocking density 9.5birds/m 2) on deep litter in various housing scenarios. Compounded feed is given in a two-phase feeding system to finish the birds for sale at 5-8 weeks. Reported mortality rates averaged 7.4% (range 1.637.0%). Respondents have ad hoc marketing arrangements, marketing mostly live birds to local household customers. The subsector is characterised by a lack of institutional support services and producers face a multitude of constraints of a technical, social, legal, financial, business and economic nature. Introduction Broiler chickens are assuming an important role in the livelihoods of rural and urban households in Zimbabwe, through augmentation of household cash income, employment and food supply. Chicken meat and eggs contribute over 40% of animal based protein supplies. Seventy percent of all commercial poultry produced in Zimbabwe are meat type chickens. Emerging, independent and relatively small-scale informal producers account for the bulk of production, buying 65% of all day-old chicks produced in the country. The majority (73%) of these producers reside in urban and peri-urban areas (LMAC, 2012). Despite its significant present and potential contribution to the poultry sector, smallholder urban broiler production is limited by insufficient capital (Babubi et al., 2004) and characterised by moderate to no institutional support services, low levels of agricultural education and little documentation (Faranisi, 2010). There is very little information on what happens in this sector. This project therefore had as its aim the documentation of technical, demographic and socio-economic parameters characterising the commercial production of broilers in urban Marondera. The information generated is useful in guiding decision making for targeting intervention in poultry development in the country. Materials and methods Selection of respondents was done in a stepwise manner. Firstly the choice of Marondera town as the study site was based on convenience. Suburbs within the town were first clustered according to residential stand sizes as defined by the municipality and sampling suburbs selected at random. Fifty five households were then identified using the nonprobability snowball sampling technique. A semi structured, pretested questionnaire was
  2. 2. administered to these households to extract information on their demographics and socioeconomic situation, flock sizes, management practices, technical performance parameters, access to support services and priority needs in poultry sector development assistance. Results Demographic and socio-economic factors: Producers have quite diverse livelihoods, often combining various income sources and resources including income from the broiler business. However, broilers were ranked the highest income source. Urban broiler production is not restricted to a survival strategy for the poor with no livelihood alternatives, but mostly involves the more privileged. It was noted that property ownership, or direct entitlement to use of space, is a pre-requisite for a broiler production business. Broiler production units in the study area were small-scale, informal and fragmented backyard businesses founded on a gender-based division of labour; wherein women pre-dominate ownership, production and marketing activities while men pre-dominate start-up financing and inputs procurement. Management and technical performance parameters: Flock sizes, stocking densities, mortality rates and marketing aspects (weight, age and routes) were so varied in the study area. Commercial broiler strains were intensively managed on deep litter in rooms in human dwellings, disused garages, semi-permanent fowl runs or moveable steel wire cages. Compounded feed was given in a two-phase feeding system. Flock sizes averaged 398 (range 25-3,500) birds per cycle. However, 79% of the producers kept at most 200 birds per cycle. There was a direct relationship between flock size and property size. The mean stocking density was 9.5 (range 6-14) birds/m2 and reported mortality rates averaged 7.4% (range 1.6-37.0%). Marketing aspects: Birds are finished for sale at 5-8 weeks when they reach a live mass of about 1.8-2.5kg. Most of the respondents reported ad hoc marketing arrangements, mostly practicing direct marketing of live birds to local household customers. Challenges: Producers face constraints with regard to lack of institutional support services, shortage of capital, access to reliable markets, prohibitive council by-laws, power cuts, poor chick supply, substandard chicks, and shortage of production space, access to reliable markets and high mortalities due to disease. Conclusion Urban broiler production in the study area is a small to medium size enterprise dominated by women. Production is not restricted to the poorest but involves the more privileged who can finance business start-up. Production is constrained by lack of institutional (technical and business) support services, shortage of capital, prohibitive urban council by-laws and lack of access to markets.
  3. 3. Table 1. Mean ranks for broiler production characteristics across household location in Marondera (Kruskal-Wallis test) Parameter HD MD LD PLOT Χ2-test N (total = 51) 13 13 13 12 Flock size (year) 19.88 22.42 25.69 36.83 * Batch size 17.73 21.46 27.77 37.96 * Stocking density 24.31 24.81 30.00 24.79 NS Mortality 29.88 26.50 23.58 23.88 NS Market age 35.19 26.31 21.88 20.70 * *Chi-square test was significant for the parameter across household location (p<0.05) Further research needed 1. Contribution of urban produced broilers to urban protein supply, youth and women empowerment, employment creation and local economic development. 2. Potential impact of broilers to urban environmental and human health and how farmers (can) capture and control these externalities (e.g., pollution abatement) 3. Risk factors and causes of high mortality and disease incidence in urban chicken flocks 4. Economics of producing broilers in urban settings (locations, economic flock sizes, housing structures, feeding, genetics, marketing and market development, etc.) Acknowledgement Special thanks go to the broiler producers who participated in this research work and my partners Mabel T. Kashangura (Department of Animal Science, University of Zimbabwe) and Rutendo Nhombo (Marketing Department, Chinhoyi University of Technology) who helped out with data collection and analyses.