Village poultry and its impact on poverty alleviation

Since many years village poultry has been domesticated and some archeological evidences showed that chickens were domesticated in China around 8000 years ago. Later on this concept was spread to the Western Europe.

Village poultry and its impact on poverty alleviation

In India and South East Asia many birds have also been domesticated. About 3000 years ago cock fighting existed in India which shows that chickens have been part of culture.

Poultry is one of the largest livestock group, mainly consisting of ducks, chickens and turkeys. Poultry products like meat and eggs constitute 30% of animal proteins production. Poultry production is major source to meet the requirements of meat produced all over the globe. Poultry is integral component of all rural, urban and peri-urban households.

It has great contribution for the improvement of food security. Especially for resource poor households, village poultry is only source of animal proteins. For sick and malnourished children, eggs are best source of high quality proteins. In low income and food deficient countries, rural poultry is contributing 70% of the total production. It is good option to improve rural and national economy.

Better delivery of knowledge and increased capacity gained by children and women through the projects of village poultry has positively impacted the village poultry production. Generally children and women are scavenging poultry in the vicinity of their houses, where they are providing broken grains, maize bran, sorghum and other leftover food as additional feed.

At night they are kept under simple shelter and may be provided with additional feed. The income generated by poultry is merely under the hands of women and they can utilize it for their betterment according to their own will. Women can adopt it as profession by staying at their houses to earn for their family. This step will lead towards the betterment of society as healthy and well-behaving individuals are always the asset of societies.

Consideration of development as a whole, food security of household is increased, more income is generated, nutrition is improved and decision making power of women is also increased. In Asia, commercial sector is responsible to meet the increased demands of urbanized population, while the contribution of smallholder village poultry sector is declining. But village poultry will be more vibrant source to eliminate poverty in less developed areas. 

Poultry in villages is providing a flexible system for livestock production that is most widespread in Asian and African countries. Traditional village scavenging poultry in developing countries is contributing a significant proportion of poultry to the continent or national flock. Technical intervention on isolated basis aiming to improve the poultry production is exerting beneficial impacts in rural areas.

Poultry is extremely important in poor and remote zones. Village poultry is ranked high as existing resource which can be highly beneficial by using even modest input. It does not require large investment at starting point or for maintenance.

Village poultry as best source for poverty alleviation

There are many reasons that why village poultry is considered as best thing to alleviate poverty. Some of them are follows.

  • Landless and poor households can own poultry
  • Mainly it is managed and owned by children and women
  • Religious taboos related to poultry are less
  • Poultry is important in socio-cultural aspect
  • Low cost technology is involved
  • Mostly locally available inputs are required
  • Less investment is required to take start
  • Village poultry is environmental friendly
  • Poultry manure can be applied to the crops to maintain nutrition status of soil
  • For one household ten chickens are sufficient under better and improved conditions
  • Poultry production is self-sustaining
  • Poultry is income generating system
  • Involvement of community groups in poultry activities
  • Poultry system raises social awareness
  • It involves actual participation of poor women and empowers them
  • Women empowerment ultimately affects the decision making power related to household

Requirements for village poultry

Unlike commercial production, village poultry do not demand technical skills and large capital inputs. It can provide the livestock ladder to owner for climbing to other species of livestock such as sheep, cattle and goats. In this way economic activities of poor people will run in progressive way. Even females in villages can manage it very well. This small holder poultry can provide animal proteins of high quality at production source.

It can also provide income for family activities such as buying clothes, health and education. There is always a greater demand of village poultry products and it has commanded a premium price constantly. The species of village poultry can better survive in disasters such as fires, floods and tsunamis as they have more space to escape.

Problems associated with village poultry production

Despite of the good impact of poultry for nutrition and poverty alleviation, there is lack of attention and research for the improvement of traditional poultry production efficiency. Traditionally village poultry has low production. Infrastructure supporting the poultry production is not good enough. Diseases and lack of supplementary feeds may cause the low output.

Village poultry may be more vulnerable to the zoonotic diseases and veterinary services are inadequate to break out the chances of disease occurrence. High mortality rates are common in villages as they are not taking serious preventive measures to avoid the risks of disease attack. So the developmental projects should focus on vaccination campaigns and building of institutions.


In most of developing and underdeveloped countries, chicken production is playing important role in rural populations. Despite of some problems involved in poultry all poor households can own this. Multidisciplinary approach can improve the health and productivity of poultry under rural conditions. The positive experience from the activities involving women from rural areas shows that poultry production can be best used as viable tool for poverty alleviation.

Poultry in villages allows poor communities to convert their labor and comparative advantages to cash and enhanced food security. As compare to other livestock species, fewer risks are associated with poultry production in rural areas and capital investment is also less. In this way villagers can utilize their resources for welfare and can output in short frame of time.

By Tabinda Athar

Agrarian, aimed to achieve food security.