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Increasing rural farmers' yields with premium, affordable chicks

  • Company
  • Agriculture
  • East Africa
  • 2014
  • Exited

The challenge

An estimated 30% of the Ethiopian population lives below the poverty line, and 47% of children in Ethiopia experience stunting and wasting as a result of extreme malnourishment. Ethiopia is challenged by a diet that is significantly deficient in protein, which chicken and eggs contain in large amounts. Indigenous chicken breeds have a survival rate of only 50%, produce fewer eggs, mature later, and are prone to disease.

The innovation

EthioChicken produces highly fertile, disease-resistant chickens and sells them to smallholder farmers in Ethiopia through a unique and scalable distribution model. The company targets the rural farmer market, supplying farmers with breeds that can thrive in the village environment, are fast maturing, and produce five times as many eggs when compared to local Ethiopian chickens. The EthioChicken model farm grows the chicks to 40-days old, an age where they can withstand the harsh environment in rural households. In tandem, local government officials aggregate rural demand for chickens on the behalf of smallholders and facilitate the sale of 40-day-old chickens to rural households.

The impact

The potential impact on smallholder farmer incomes is significant, as egg production is expected to increase five times and incomes are expected to double. Higher egg production increases the supply of protein to rural and urban households, as well as decreases the cost of protein. The company produces over one million day-old chicks per year, with plans to increase to two million within three years.