SSLLP is a proud supporter of the recently established International Rural Poultry Centre - Malawi (IRPCM). SSLLP believes this development is a step in the right direction at the right time. Why? Read on.
Village poultry are an integral part of rural life in Malawi - that's a fact. Anyone in the village might own a chicken. Survey data show this to be true but it also makes practical sense. For instance an impoverished widow in the village may not have the wherewithal to own a cow or a goat, but she does have a good chance of owning a chicken. It is thus not surprising to find that ownership of village poultry is spread more evenly between the different levels of rural poverty. Support for village poultry means support for everybody.
Vaccination of village chickens against Newcastle disease has been a major theme across most of SSLLP's field programs for many years now. Newcastle disease is widely cited as the single most important source of loss in village poultry in this part of the world. Technological advances have led to the development of vaccines which are particularly suited for use in remote rural areas where refrigeration facilities are limited. Vaccination is simple, efficacious and cost effective. Where these vaccines are already established, farmers have responded by demanding more - they see vaccinated chickens surviving during Newcastle disease outbreaks - they know that vaccination works.
But Newcastle disease is only part of the story. There are other diseases and other problems. Once Newcastle disease is under control, other diseases become more apparent. Housing and nutrition for village poultry are other areas where the capacity of rural Malawian farmers is constrained. The time is therefore ripe for the development of an organisation focussed on the needs of village poultry owners.
The IRPCM will help to satisfy those needs. It will foster widespread government and community commitment to village poultry. It will collaborate with government, other institutions and NGOs in the smallholder poultry sector. It will serve as a knowledge base and a network for individuals and institutions who are involved with village poultry in Malawi.
More details of the IRPCM are on its web site at http://www.ruralpoultrymalawi.org
Thus SSLLP welcomes the establishment of the IRPCM and applauds the support given by several other institutions which include the Government of Malawi, the Kyeema Foundation and the International Rural Poultry Centre in Brisbane Australia. SSLLP itself is ready to collaborate with and support the new organisation without any constraint.
Establishment of the International Rural Poultry Centre - Malawi is a good move. We wish it well.