A chicken is not just a chicken. Keeping poultry in rural Africa is usually very different, compared to Europe or other parts of the world. Farmers in rural Africa need a dual purpose breed, such as bred and selected by Sasso. A solid distribution network and knowledge exchange is required however to ensure that these farmers can benefit from improved dual purpose breeds. Supported by a welcome addition of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, it is possible to reach that goal.
Today’s commercial poultry industry around the world, is to a wide extent based on large scale, professional production operations. However, the contribution of small scale and backyard farming should not be underestimated either. Particularly on the Sub Saharan African continent, many households and smallholder farmers keep poultry. These account for around 80% of total poultry production.
Africa is one of the fastest growing continents in the world. According to the United Nations, more than half of global population growth between now and 2050 is expected to occur in Africa. The population of sub-Saharan Africa, is projected to double by 2050. In that respect, upgrading domestic and small size farming is truly essential. Currently, indigenous chicken have low levels of productivity and high mortality rates. For that reason, increasing poultry productivity is a clear target. That may be reached through improving housing systems and practices, but also through genetic improvement. Access to improved dual-purpose chickens and a good distribution network could transform rural poultry production substantially.
Poultry breeding company Sasso from France is focusing on the development of dual purpose breeds. Since 2018, the company is a full subsidiary of Hendrix Genetics from the Netherlands.
The multicolored Sasso bird is a robust dual purpose breed
Sasso has a history of over 40 years, primarily on the French market producing for the Label Rouge and slower growing broiler market. However, over the years they have also gained global reach. In general, the Sasso bird can be seen as a dual purpose breed: suitable for egg production, as well as meat production. Recent field trials have shown that Sasso birds are truly a solution for small sized farms in Africa. The company offers a wide range of multicolored chickens: a multitude of combinations of phenotypes and different growth rates to meet the diversity in demand of traditional poultry worldwide. They offer a variety of crosses. There are 3 types of breeder females, but a wide range of males of various types.
All are slow-growing chickens, adapted to extensive farming systems, as well as to free range rearing. The adaptability of the Sasso breed is recognized worldwide and used in all climates. In order to safeguard the supply of parent stock over the world, grandparents are kept in multiple bio secure locations.
“The success of Sasso in Africa is not only based on the characteristics of the of breed, but also on our extensive knowledge and technical support to customers”, says Dr. Naomi Duijvesteijn, Director of R&D at Sasso (Hendrix-Genetics) and project manager for the further development in Africa. “However, a solid distribution and support network structure is needed to achieve progress”, Naomi continues. “In Africa, we are working together with various bodies for reaching our goals. This includes the World Poultry…