RIU - Research Into Use
Chickens save trees in Tanzania
27 January 2011


RIU Tanzania has been working for the past two years to develop the value chain for an indigenous poultry enterprise. After trying several different models they have settled on KuKuDeal, a contract farming model, as the scalable way ahead (kuku is Swahili for chicken).

KuKuDeal is based on people keeping between 200 and 400 local chickens. The contract provides farmers with chickens, feeds for the first one month, all vaccines, drugs and a market for the birds after 4 months. Contract farming is a new concept among the farmers so not many were ready to sign up during the first round but, with persistence by RIU, some 2000 contracts have now been signed. Payments to farmers under the KuKuDeal can be as much as US$ 1,800 per year or nearly US$5 per day.

Matilda S Mndeme, the RIU field operations coordinator, recently received a request from 40 young men who wanted to become commercial poultry keepers under the RIU programme. They had met with the program champions in their villages and also the local government authorities who had initially approached them to build chicken sheds.

Many of these young men had previously been engaged in illegal tree felling for the charcoal business. This is very damaging to the environmental and had placed the men in constant conflict with different authorities. Becoming involved in the KuKuDeal gave them the opportunity to leave behind their charcoal making activities and become poultry keepers.

Vera Mugittu, RIU Tanzania Country Coordinator, said:
"We at RIU Tanzania have received this news with great joy and our plan is to give them the maximum support they need. It shows that with the right investment we can achieve many policy objectives. Simultaneously we are addressing economic growth, food security, livestock health, environmental issues and giving young Tanzanians a stake in the future."
Ian Maudlin, Director of RIU, added:
"It makes a welcome change to hear that livestock can contribute positively to the environment. All too often we only hear the case against livestock."
Through hard work, RIU Tanzania is transforming indigenous poultry, which many people considered to have no significant commercial value, into a sector the potential of which is now visible to many. In the process they are satisfying the taste preference of Tanzania consumers for local birds and creating vibrant new businesses for people, including the aged, widows and others from groups who have traditionally been excluded from profitable agricultural enterprises.

Increasingly volatile global maize prices will doubtless create problems for many livestock keepers - but traditionally raised local chicken, with their more varied diets, should compete well with more intensively farmed birds which are more dependent on maize.

Commercialisation of local chicken enterprises. May 2010 (9:07)   RIUtv
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