Livestock Research for Rural Development 13 (5) 2001

Citation of this paper

A livestock development approach that contributes to poverty alleviation and widespread improvement of nutrition among the poor

(Paper presented at the workshop “Malnutrition in Developing Countries: Generating Capabilities for Effective Community Action”, IFAD September 19-20, 2001)

Frands Dolberg

 University of Aarhus, Denmark


Empowering resource poor women contributes importantly to food security. Yet, the question needs to be answered how to reach them? Livestock projects have not been very good at that so far. A review of more than 800 projects concluded that there had been very little positive and sustainable impact on the poor. As an exception to this general rule, the Bangladesh Poultry Model is used to move poor women on a food subsidy on to a sustainable development path in which micro-credit plays an important role. 

This paper examines this Model to derive lessons learned for development workers and especially livestock sector specialists.  Further, the paper attempts to place the discussion of an appropriate livestock development approach that will contribute to reducing widespread malnutrition in a wider context. The current development debate centres on issues such as outreach of micro-credit programmes, the relationship between vulnerability and assets and the importance of learning from experience. 

One straightforward conclusion is that recipients and donors alike need to give much higher priority to small animals such as poultry. These may act as “starters” in a development process in contrast to larger animals. The latter do reach to a much lesser extent the most vulnerable and food insecure households. It remains that reaching out is not only a question of technologies, but of appropriate institutional arrangements, policies and human capabilities.  

Key words: Livestock development approach, women’s empowerment, food security.


Several years ago, Robert Chambers in his book “Rural Development: Putting the Last First” referred to the development professionals pre-occupation with cattle (Chambers 1983, p. 77) and in a recent review of more than 800 livestock projects Ashley et al (1999) noted that, indeed, most livestock projects had been cattle projects and they concluded that the paucity of evidence that demonstrated any long-term sustainable impact on the poor is disappointing and that “Donors may need to rethink their approach to the sector and develop a new paradigm for poverty reduction through livestock” (Ashley et al 1999, p.35). 

In comparison micro-credit programmes have been better at reaching the poor and have become major supporters of livestock development as many loans have been invested in animals. However, it is recognised that even the micro-credit programs have a problem to reach what is termed the hardcore or ultra poor (Hashemi 1997 and 2001; Abed 2000; Chua et al 2000) – a problem that was recognised by several of the speakers in the Asian Regional Conference on “The Potential and Limitations of Economic Initiatives in Grassroots Development – Current Issues and Asian Experiences” that took place in Bangladesh in November 2000 (The papers can be downloaded from  

Improving the nutritional status of children is closely linked to women’s empowerment and the aim of the present paper is to review some experiences that will identify elements of a Livestock Development Approach that will help poor women and their families to initiate a process of asset build up that will contribute to empowerment, poverty alleviation and thereby put an important condition in place for widespread nutrition improvement.

The relationship between vulnerability and assets

This relationship has been dealt with in much more depth elsewhere, not the least by Sen (1981). However, the point he made and which several authors have made is that people who are adequately endowed and who have opportunities to exchange their goods also have the opportunity to be satisfactorily nourished.  

In a recent review on “Microfinance, Risk Management, and Poverty” Chua et al (2000, p. 105) illustrated the relationship between household vulnerability and assets (figure 1). The figure illustrates that the most vulnerable households are also those with the least assets and that as asset mix and quantity increase the vulnerability of the household will be reduced. 

Figure 1.
Relationship between Household Assets and Vulnerability (
Source: Chua et al 2000).

On the background of this general relationship between assets and vulnerability, the question to ask of a livestock development approach becomes:  how it can help the people in extreme poverty to enter a path that will lead them on to an accumulation of assets?. 

Approaches to Livestock Development

Ashley et al (1999, p. 21) distinguished between three livestock development approaches. One that focused on increased market supplies of livestock products, a second that aimed to increase the demand for labour and services and a third approach that works directly with the poor to enhance the contribution that the animals can make to their livelihoods. 

The last point can be illustrated with food intake data from an impact study of a sample of one thousand households involved in the Bangladesh Smallholder Livestock Development Project (SLDP) (Table 1). 

Table 1.  Intake of food by households before and after inclusion in the SLDP.

Eggs (No/week)



Meat, times/month

Milk ,



















Source: Alam (1997).

To understand the data presented in Table 1, the reader must know that although the project was named as a livestock project, the only animals the households participating in the study kept were poultry for egg production.  It can be seen that there is some improvement in the consumption of eggs and chicken meat. However, most of the eggs were sold and the income used to buy other food items like cattle or goat meat and milk, while there was hardly any increase in vegetable consumption, but there was an 18% increase in grain consumption from 12.1 to 14.3 kg per week per household. The increased consumption of different types of food of animal origin is important in particular for young children, pregnant and lactating women as these food sources supply essential amino acids (See for an explanation) like lysine and methionine that are more readily available to the human body than those contained in food of plant origin. 

However, to come back to the contribution that the right livestock strategy can make to the livelihoods of people, it was noted in the same study that income from the sale of eggs, apart from being used to improve the diet by adding variety and quality, it was used to educate children and - where this was possible – to begin a process of asset accumulation. It can be seen that the contribution is not so much from the increased domestic consumption of poultry meat and eggs by the producers as it is from the income, which the poultry products generate.    

The poor have small animals, not cattle

In country after country the author of the present paper has visited, not the least as a member of IFAD missions that provides exposure to the poorer section of the population in accordance with IFAD’s mandate, it has turned out that poultry is one of the few assets that poor households have (Tables 2 and 3). The data in Table 2 are from a survey in 1984 of 317 households in 4 villages in Noakhali District, Bangladesh (de Lasson and Dolberg, 1985), while the data in Table 3 are from a recent survey in Swaziland, but the message is the same. 

Table 2.  Relationship between size of holding and type of livestock in Noakhali District, Bangladesh.
Land, Acres



Young cattle













- 0











0 – 0.5











0.5 – 0.99











1.0 – 1.99











2.0 – 3.0











> 3






















Source: de Lasson and Dolberg (1985).

Table 2 shows that while bullocks were not kept by the landless, 80% of the bullocks were kept by holdings with more than 1 acre, which, upon reflection, is not surprising as the bullocks are used to cultivate the land. In contrast, there is a tendency that the smaller the animal gets going from cows, to young cattle, goats and to poultry, the greater the proportion of the animals in a village are kept by the landless. Thus, more than 50% of the total number of goats as well as of poultry is kept by households with less than 0.5 acre of land.  

Table 3.  Distribution of animal species in rural Swazi households
Percentage of households with the species).









Source: IFAD Interim Evaluation Survey (2001).

From Table 3 it can be seen that in Swazi rural households keeping of poultry is much more widespread (92.5%) than of cattle, goats and pigs. Based on data from Namibia, Matsaert et al (1998) have made it very clear that ownership of cattle is associated with relative wealth as cattle owning households had an annual cash income of more than US$ 1000, while households without cattle earned around US $ 200. In Tien (1998), data from Vietnam are presented that document the same and Hans Askov Jensen has found the trend in Malawi (personal communication) and Charlotte Vesterlund Pedersen in Zimbabwe (personal communication). 

Evolution of the Bangladesh Poultry Model 

In Bangladesh a poultry model has been developed that reaches many more poor people, especially women, than any other livestock development model (Saleque 2000 and the BRAC website at seen so far and it has the important quality that it reaches out to the vulnerable without assets (Figure 1). 

The evolution of the model began in the late 1970s, when the BRAC identified poultry as a potential source of income for poor women. The word evolution is chosen on purpose as it conveys the associated connotations that much of the learning that led to the model was through trial and error and not a pre-set design, which from the beginning would guide this learning phase to success. The first intervention, which was tried, was exchange of indigenous cockerels with exotic ones, and it failed. A regular vaccination program for an entire village against the most common poultry diseases was successful as it reduced mortality and increased the number of chicken and it led to an important feature of the model, which is the inclusion of poor women as vaccinators – work they now do against a fee. Subsequently, rearing of day-old chicken was introduced as introduction of pullets from government to villages met with high mortality. The women raised batches of 200 to 300 chickens till they reached 8 weeks of age at which time they were sold to other women, who would rear them and keep the birds as adults for egg production. A first test of the model – the model is described in detail below – was undertaken from 1983 till 1985 in co-operation with the Directorate of Livestock Services in Maniganj Upazila (An Upazila is a sub-district). From 1985 till 1987 application of the model was scaled up to 32 Upazilas and in 1987 the model was applied to the Income Generation for Vulnerable Group Program, which was a major proof of the model’s capacity to serve very poor people as will be discussed in more detail below. Credit as a component of the model was introduced in the late 1980s and the model saw large scale introduction to 400 000 women and their families with the Smallholder Livestock Development Project (SLDP), which is a project that was sponsored by the Directorate of Livestock Services of Government of Bangladesh, IFAD and Danida (IFAD 2001a), while it was implemented by NGOs with BRAC as the lead NGO. This project was followed by the Asian Development Bank/Danida sponsored Participatory Livestock Development Project; a Danida sponsored Second Smallholder Livestock Project. And the Model is used in the Bangladesh National Nutrition Program that has donor support from the World Bank, Canada and The Netherlands – and there may be more! According to BRAC (, in 1999 there were 1.3 million women with their families involved in this work, but to get the total number of women involved in smallholder poultry production requires those included in the programmes of other NGOs. 

The Bangladesh Model 

At the first instant it may seem a simple matter to provide a poor woman with 10 birds. However, the Model that now goes under the caption the Bangladesh Poultry Model is quite sophisticated as it combines the need for large-scale outreach and services with income-generation and employment.   

The following draws strongly from Jensen (1997), Saleque and Mustafa (1997), Saleque (2000) and the July 2001 Status and Progress Report of the Participatory Livestock Development Project.  

The Model has three prongs,  each of which has a specialised function (Figure 2).    

Figure 2. The Bangladesh Poultry Model





Parent stock

Village groups




Chicken rearers

Vaccine/ medicine

Credit/ saving




Source: Jensen (1997).

Area Office 

An Area Office has responsibility for 6000 women in a given area as it is estimated that this is the number required to make the Model based on micro-credit financially self-sustainable, i.e. a part of the interest paid on the loan is used to pay for the operation of the Area Office. It is the responsibility of the office to identify the women to include in the programme, organise them in groups and train them technically as well as in awareness raising and running of a group. 

The model 

More than 90% of the participants are smallholders, but they are supported by small entrepreneurs that undertake various specialised functions like supply of chicken and routine vaccinations. They operate under free market conditions and are allowed to sell to customers outside the model. 

  1. Breeders (model rearers). There are 24 per Area Office. They rear 54 Fayoumi hens and 6 Rhode Island Red cocks. The eggs are sold to the mini hatcheries, often with egg collectors as intermediaries. However, a substantial part of the eggs are sold to smallholders, who use local hens for brooding. The birds are kept in confinement and are fed on balanced feed.
  2. Mini hatcheries. In remote areas without electricity these low cost hatcheries can be operated by solar energy and kerosene. Black pillows are filled with rice husk and heated in the sun or by use of kerosene. The eggs are placed into a cylinder with two pillows for hatching. Their capacity is typically 1000 chicken per month. Although the chicken rearers are their primary client, many day old chicken are sold to smallholders.
  3. Chicken rearers. These units have a capacity to rear batches of 200-300 chicken per time. The chicken are reared in houses of local materials from they are day old till they reach an age of eight weeks. They are fed a balanced ration that is bought from the feed sellers. Where most of the other categories in the model receive 3 days training before they start, chicken rearers receive 7 days of training.
  4. Smallholders (key rearers).  These are small farms with 5-10 hens of improved breed, but they may also have a few hens of local breed, as they are required for brooding and chicken rearing. The system is semi-scavenging and 30-70% of the feed is supplied by the owner while the birds scavenge for the rest. This is by far the largest single group in the Model as it comprises more than 90% of the people involved. As an extension of the key rearers there are now added a category of cage rearers, who are “graduated” key rearers that keep 35-100 laying hens from 8 weeks to 70 weeks for egg production. There are now also some broiler rearers, who fatten chicken for 6 weeks.  On-farm research has shown that crossbred hens with a Fayoumi hen as mother and a Rhode Island Red male as father cope well under this system (Rahman et al 1997) and this has led to the establishment of two pullet rearers per Area Office.
  1. Parent stock. In the early years of the work in Bangladesh, the parent stock was kept by the Directorate of Livestock services and this was the only source of supply. Today, the major NGOs have established parent farms and they account for most of the supply and - in turn – obtain their stock, the grand parents, from commercial breeding companies abroad.
  2. Feed. This group of women, very often assisted by their husbands, receive balanced feed from the BRAC feed mill to sell on to the chicken rearers, breeders or key rearers or they may buy from BRAC only the ingredients like fish meal, vitamins and minerals that they cannot buy in their local market and thereafter themselves mix the feed.
  3. Vaccine/medicine. For every Area Office there are 100 women selected to work as poultry workers. Based on five days of initial training, a monthly one-day follow-up training, the poultry worker vaccinates against the most common diseases and conducts some treatment of sick birds – against a fee.
  4. Marketing. Marketing is done by egg collectors (men) and the eggs are marketed in the towns nearby, but it does also happen that the producers, who have eggs to sell, conduct their own transaction in the village. There are 10 egg collectors per Area Office.  
  1. Group formation. BRAC organises landless women into groups and it is in these groups that the selection of the women into the various poultry activities takes place.
  2. Training. Before a participant is included in the programme, whatever the task she takes up, she has undergone 4 days of training, which is followed by regular refreshment courses.
  3. Credit. Credit is provided for initial investment, whether this is in poultry or chicken rearing, hatching, feed selling or egg collection. The participants also save regularly. Credit is critical for the financial sustainability of the entire model. An NGO like BRAC now claims to be 73% self-financing and expect to be independent of donors in another couple of years (IFAD 2001a, p. 22).
  4. Extension. Any extension service that is required beyond the supply and service activities already listed will be undertaken by the NGO’s field and staff of a given area of the Directorate of Livestock Services.  

The critical role of feedback in learning and evolution of the model 

In the evolution of the model, feedback and learning have played and still play an important role. It is explained by Saleque (2000) in this way:  

BRAC managers operationalise numerous informal as well as formal feedback systems both upward and downward. Feedback takes place through the numerous meetings and constant dialogue that is held regularly at all levels (i.e. village, area, regional and head office level). Feedback from and to villagers (poultry rearers) provides a foundation for learning. The Program Organisers meet regularly with village groups, discussing issues and problems. Regional Managers and head office people visit village meetings or visit with individual villagers (rearers) when they are in the field. These meetings, together with informal discussions, form the basis for village feedback of the Program.”








Figure 3. Structural elements underlying the Bangladesh Poultry Model (  Source: Kolb 1984)

In short, there are strong elements reminiscent of the Kolb (1984 p.43) learning circle (Figure 3) involved in the way the model has evolved. This circle underlines learning on the basis of experience.  

The model and the very poor 

It was mentioned in the introduction that generally micro-credit programs had been better at reaching the poor than livestock development programs, but also that even the micro-credit programs had problems to reach the hardcore or ultra poor (Hashemi 1997 and 2001; Abed 2000; Chua et al 2000).  Obviously, that leaves a challenge to identify types of interventions, institutional, technological and otherwise that do reach these people.  

The question that this section seeks to answer is what is the evidence that the Bangladesh Poultry Model reaches this group of ultra poor women and their families?  

In 1975 the Government of Bangladesh with the support of the World Food Programme (WFP) introduced the Vulnerable Groups Development Programme (VGD); subsequently this led to the Income Generation for Vulnerable Groups Development (IGVGD) Programme. This Programme targets the very poor and destitute and attempts to link them to mainstream development activities. The target group according to Sattar et al (1999) are women and they have less than 0.15 acres of land, they suffer from chronic food insecurity and they prefer regular wage employment (to micro-credit).  Many of them have experienced divorce, a husband that has deserted them or a husband’s disablement or death. Each woman included in the IGVGD gets a card that entitles her to 30 kg wheat a month for a period of 18 months. In 1987 the Bangladesh Poultry Model was applied to the Income Generation for Vulnerable Group Program together with other activities.  

A summary of the number of women trained and the type of activities they were trained in is presented in Table 4.  

Table 4. Number of Women trained under the IGVGD 








98-Mar’ 99


40 744

57 929

105 504

185 096

248 129

284 860

922 262


40 744

57 929

105 504

185 096

248 129

198 630

836 032







86 230

86 230

Source: Sattar et al (1999).

The first point to note is that until 1997 the training has exclusively been on poultry production. From 1998 other subjects have been introduced and the term “other” in Table 4 covers subjects like vegetable production (44 081 women) and cattle and goat production (30 077 women) (Sattar et al 1999).  

Two-thirds of this nearly one million women have “graduated” from their state of absolute poverty to become micro-credit clients (Hashemi 2001, p.2). In other words, they have begun a process of asset accumulation that can lead to food security for them and their children, helped by the Bangladesh Poultry Model, something it is very unlikely an approach based on cattle could have achieved. Questions remain; however, with regard to the degree such assets will in fact be used to the benefit of women and children as pointed out by Villarreal (2001).  

Replication in Malawi 

A replication is currently going on of the Model in Malawi in the context of the Danida support to the Agricultural Sector. A major, initial problem was, indeed, to identify the poor. The pilot villages are organised with a headman and each village has a Livestock Development Committee that has a poultry sub-committee, which was anticipated to be synonymous with the target group. However, an in-depth analysis showed that many of the most food insecure – often female headed – households, that were food self-sufficient for only three months after the maize harvest,  had not been included. The analysis found 25 potential participants in one village and 11 in another in contrast to the Livestock Development Committee, which had found only 3 and 4, respectively (Hans Askov Jensen, personal communication). Overall the survey found the poorest isolated from the general village society as described and generalised by Chambers (1983, chapter 5).  

Micro-credit and livestock 

What happens once they are in the “micro-credit fold” has been documented by Todd (1998) According to her, it is the experience in micro credit programs across Asia that 60-80% of the first and second loans are invested in animals. What is perhaps less well understood is that – given the opportunity of several loan cycles – people do not necessarily stay with the same animal species, but move on to other animals or other items altogether in their investments of subsequent loans. This is illustrated in Figure 4. The data used in constructing Figure 4 were gathered from poor women in Bangladesh, who had received micro credit for ten years through the Grameen Bank (Todd 1998).  

However, in order to facilitate that as many poor people as possible get an opportunity to climb the development ladder as depicted in Figure 4, it is important to plan a project in a manner so that it will include many poor households from the beginning, which is why the main focus should be on poultry as these are the animals food insecure households have and they do not have many other assets. There may obviously be exceptions to this rule, but for the sake of the argument of this paper, we stay with the rule.  



Figure 4. Micro-credit recipients’ investment ladder in some villages in Bangladesh  (Source: Todd 1998)


Reducing malnutrition in developing countries and generating capabilities for effective community action?

Answers have been provided throughout the paper with regard to malnutrition. The argument is simple. The really poor do not have large animals and so a livestock strategy that wants to include many poor women and their families must focus on small animals and a strong case is made for this to be poultry as this is the only animal poor women in many countries have. It is not primarily for the families to consume poultry products, but to generate income and get on to a process of asset building that will lead them out of poverty and give them an opportunity to eat well. Poultry is a starter and the women and their families will diversify and expand their activities, if they succeed, and not necessarily expand their poultry production (Todd 1998).  

However, with regard to the second theme on capabilities for effective community action a brief analysis is undertaken of the production, supply and service functions of Bangladesh Poultry Model (Figure 2) in the following. This analysis is undertaken by having a continuum in mind with full centralisation and decentralisation as the extremes.  

In the area of production much will depend on the choice of poultry breeds. If imported, exotic breeds are used, it will inevitably introduce a critical element of centralisation as the supply of the breeding material will have to come from a few central farms as is presently the case in Bangladesh or as can be seen in a country like Eritrea, which relies on imported day-old chicken from Egypt. An effective distribution network becomes critical in such a situation. In their much decentralised, traditional systems, rural poultry keepers experience high mortalities in their flocks as documented by Matthewman (1977) with data from Nigeria – a finding that has very general validity across countries and time. However, a large proportion of this mortality takes place within the first eight weeks of the life of the chicken due to poor nutrition, accidents and predators and not only disease. Thus, the introduction of chicken rearers will help reduce mortality. Technically, there may be less justification for the mini hatcheries as hatching rates are often reasonable at around 70-80% in the traditional systems, but a mini-hatchery can be a way to ensure a supply of day-old chicken to the chicken rearers. In remote areas maintenance of local breeds will be critical for brooding as this attribute has been lost in exotic birds.  

With regard to supply, the question of parent stock will depend – as discussed above – on whether exotic or local breeds are chosen, with local breeds representing the decentralised solution. Feed can obviously be found locally as is evident from the millions of birds that survive in villages all over the World, but some critical inputs from outside may be required and can increase production as has been shown in work from Ethiopia (Dessie 1996). The whole area of supplementation is, however, one that deserves location specific research attention in order to identify appropriate and economical supplements in a given location. Without such work, there is a strong tendency for small poultry producers to rely on commercial feed (Personal observation by the author based in missions for IFAD in 2000 and 2001 to Papua New Guinea and Swaziland ). While mortality is not only due to diseases that can be prevented by vaccination (Oakley 2000), it is useful to undertake regular vaccination against the most common diseases such as Newcastle Disease and the Bangladesh Poultry Model’s use of a poor woman as vaccinator is very appropriate. However, vaccine production is centralised and supply chains will need to be established. The degree of organisation and institutional support that marketing will require will depend on the local conditions. But one advantage of eggs is that although they are fragile, they are small in size, which lends them to flexibility and divisibility in their marketing. The marketing aspects of the Bangladesh Poultry Model have been dealt with in detail by Newnham (2000).  

In the Bangladesh Poultry Model as presented in Figure 2, group formation, training, credit and extension comes under service. There is much experience now in the areas of group formation and (micro-) credit, although the challenge remains of including the most vulnerable, which is a key topic for discussion. However, a major problem with regard to training in the technical aspects of the Bangladesh Poultry Model as well as extension is that these areas have been grossly neglected by recipients and donors alike and so only limited human capabilities exist in technical support of the model.  

Donors, recipients and capacity building 

That there is interesting and useful work to do in support of animal production systems that poor producers can use is demonstrated by Pinard-Van Der Lann et al (1998), who showed that the Egyptian poultry line Fayoumi was more resistant to Coccidiosis than any of the lines it was compared with,  with the result that these birds survived, while birds of other lines died. However, donors and recipients alike have ignored capacity building and research in support of a livestock development approach as discussed in the present paper. Most of the work undertaken by the CGIAR-system on animals is on ruminants and most has been on cattle.  

The Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) has supported research on village poultry systems and, not the least, research on the development of the dry Newcastle vaccine, but it is understood that its project in Mozambique is now terminated, leaving only a project on development of a vaccine for the control of Gumboro for village and small poultry holdings in Indonesia in its portfolio ( .  

FAO has for several years supported the International Network for Family Poultry Development ( The network publishes a Newsletter, but does not control any substantial funds to support capacity building and research.  

In its “Rural Poverty Report 2001”, IFAD (IFAD 2001b) has a section (p. 101) under the heading “The poor, types of livestock assets and livestock asset policies”, where it is mentioned that poor farmers are less likely than others to own several species of animals (supported by Tables 2 and 3 of the present paper), that they are more likely to have small stock and that small animals are often controlled by women and children. This is followed up (p. 152) with this statement in the Poverty Report:  

Chapter 3 examines ways to improve the benefits to the rural poor from livestock assets. The implications for research and technology are: a shift from cattle to animals more likely to be owned and managed by the poor (sheep, goats, pigs, poultry, donkeys); and, within cattle technology, a shift (in research on both productivity and disease control) towards small herds and their uses and feed.”  

However, this statement is new (2001) and still needs to be translated into action, although it fits well with IFAD’s mandate and ambition to be a rural poverty knowledge base (  

The most active contribution on the side of the donors is at the moment probably coming from Danida’s support to replication of the model in Bangladesh and in modified ways in countries such as Malawi and Eritrea within its agricultural sector programmes – and its support to the Network for Smallholder Poultry Development (


The aim of the present paper was to review some experiences that can identify elements of a Livestock Development Approach that will contribute to a process of poor women’s empowerment and poverty alleviation as this is a pre-condition for widespread nutrition improvement for them and their children. The discussion has identified such elements. At a technical level, the widest outreach to the poor will be through small animals and poultry in particular as it is striking how poultry across countries is one of the few assets the very poor people have. The Bangladesh Poultry Model has proven to be useful in that country for poor women in their transit from recipients of donated food to their own sustainable income generation and it can serve as a very useful vision to have of the production, supply and service elements that need to be put in place to apply such an approach on a large scale in other countries as well. For implementation and to reach out to the poor women, other institutions than government institutions need to be in place as there is practically no country with sufficient government staff and other resources to reach out to the poor. The role deserves to be noticed that a well run micro-credit programme can play in making the work of such institutions financially independent when combined with technical, training and credit interventions like in the Bangladesh Poultry Model. The government’s role is obviously to create a policy environment that is conducive for the approach to work, one important condition being organisational freedom. Human capabilities will be required on a large scale and both governments and donors need to attend to that. This includes research and the CGIAR system needs to get research in support of the approach on its agenda. Finally, the poor tend to be isolated and unless a special effort is made to reach them, they will easily be bypassed.  


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