Can small-scale poultry production contribute to household food security in the Maphephetheni lowlands, KwaZulu-Natal?
Mosisi, Moleka Pange.
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This study investigated the feasibility of small-scale poultry production to contribute to household food security in the Maphephetheni lowlands in KwaZulu-Natal. Forty households, selected by stratified random sampling (eight households per sub-ward) participated in a trial to assess the feasibility of egg and broiler production, from commercial lines, and the potential for generating income to improve household food security. The study established that participating households acquired the necessary skills through a training module offered, actively engaged in poultry production and marketing of the produce, and managed their funds well. Market demand for poultry products in the Maphephetheni lowlands was high from both local consumers and traders. Egg production profit was constrained as eggs were not sorted into sizes according to South African standards and local selling prices, but, contrary to commercial market practice, the eggs are graded ‘standard’ regardless of size. Both egg and broiler production are technically feasible in Maphephetheni lowlands, but broiler production is more economically viable than eggs and more highly desired by households. Households reported that poultry production could provide much needed income and reduce poverty and hunger in their community. Although household dietary diversity did not improve, income increased and was put into a savings account. Households borrowed and used this money for various needs, but not necessarily to supplement their diets. Commercial point-of-lay pullets and three-week old vaccinated broilers could be used in the Maphephetheni lowlands, but broilers were more commercially viable than point-of-lay pullets. It is recommended that broiler houses be established with the capacity for brooding each 500 day-old chicks which are sold (live) at six weeks. However, technical and financial support is required to maximise the benefits, increase household income, improve diets and reduce vulnerability to food insecurity.This study investigated the feasibility of small-scale poultry production to contribute to
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