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Poultry farming in Burundi is a path to food security and economic empowerment.

Poultry farming in Burundi has enormous possibilities for improving the availability of food, increasing income, and empowering women in rural communities. However, the industry has encountered considerable obstacles, including a decrease caused by political instability and a lack of resources. Despite these challenges, the past several years have seen a gratifying recovery, thanks to dedicated efforts from a variety of stakeholders.

Historically, chicken farming in Burundi was essentially a home occupation, overseen by women, and viewed as supplemental to other forms of revenue. The destructive civil war in the 1990s, combined with trade embargoes, had a significant impact on the sector. The importation of chicks and critical agricultural inputs became problematic, resulting in a decrease in poultry population and production.

Fortunately, there has been some recovery over the past two decades. Organizations such as the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and Vétérinaires Sans Frontières Belgique (VSF-Belgium) have played critical roles in this process. They provide vital assistance to farmers through:

Improved breeds: The distribution of improved chicken breeds, which are noted for faster growth and higher egg output, has greatly increased yields.

Training and education: Providing farmers with knowledge about better poultry management methods, such as biosecurity, correct feeding, and disease control, has resulted in healthier and more productive birds.

Access to Resources: Facilitating access to critical resources such as vaccines, feed, and equipment, particularly for women-led families, has allowed them to participate more actively in chicken farming.

These measures have had a clear impact. Burundi’s poultry population has consistently expanded from 2000 to 2022, with meat output reaching 8,346 tonnes in 2022. This development is due not just to improved breeds and management approaches, but also to rising demand for chicken products.

Burundi’s population is continuously increasing, as is demand for animal protein, particularly eggs and chicken meat. This gives an excellent opportunity for poultry farmers to boost their revenue while also contributing to national food security.

However, obstacles still exist. Access to economical and high-quality feed, frequent disease outbreaks, and limited market access continue to stifle the sector’s potential. Addressing these difficulties requires a multi-pronged strategy.

Investing in local feed production: Encouraging the establishment of local feed production facilities can reduce farmers’ dependency on expensive imports while also ensuring consistent availability of high-quality feed.
Enhancing veterinary services: Strong veterinary services are critical for early detection and control of poultry illnesses. This entails creating easily accessible diagnostic facilities and training veterinary specialists.
Improving market access: Connecting farmers to local marketplaces and encouraging the formation of farmer cooperatives can help them obtain higher prices for their products and reduce post-harvest losses.

By solving these difficulties and continuing to receive critical help from organizations such as the FAO and VSF-Belgium, Burundi’s poultry business may continue to flourish. This will not only improve food security and empower rural populations, but will also help to drive the country’s overall economic development.

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