Livestock Research for Rural Development 18 (5) 2006 Guidelines to authors LRRD News

Citation of this paper

An experimental study on model for sustainable rural poultry farming

M K Mandal, N Khandekar* and P Khandekar**

Division of Veterinary and Animal Husbandry Extension, Faculty of Veterinary Science and Animal Health, SKUAST-J, R S Pura, Jammu, India
*
Division of Extension Education, IIHR, Bangalore, India
**Division of Extension Education, IVRI, Izatnagar, India

malayjammu@yahoo.com


Abstract

An experimental study was conducted in purposively selected two villages (i.e., Vikrampur and Dhakia) of Bareilly district of Uttar Pradesh, India in order to examine the effectiveness of a model for sustainable rural poultry farming. The effectiveness of the model was measured in terms of proposed sustainability indicators i.e. productivity, efficiency, stability, durability, compatibility and equity.

The study shows that majority of the respondents' with improved indigenous flock belonged to highly productive, highly efficient, stable and highly durable, category, however, in case of non-descript flock majority of the poultry owners belonged to very low productivity, low efficiency, least stable and low durable flock category. However, irrespective of the kind of birds the respondents fell in the highly compatible and highly equitable category.

The overall sustainability of improved indigenous birds was 91.1 while in non-descript existing birds it was 55.9.The mean difference of productivity, stability, efficiency, durability and overall sustainability were highly significant (P<0.01) whereas, the means of compatibility and equity of the birds (i.e. improved indigenous germ-plasm and existing non-descript) were not significant.

Key words: Backyard, indicators, model, sustainable


Introduction

Sustainability is a modern name for an old practice. There is certain desperation in the word sustainability. The Oxford dictionary defines 'sustain' as 'enable to last out' though in the sense intended here it may be more appropriately described as 'keep going continuously'. There are number of issues which have to be considered while applying sustainability yard stick to a system.

Sustainability is a concept on which social, natural scientists and philosophers have expressed their view from time to time. Barbier and Conway (1990) stated that sustainability is the ability to maintain productivity, whether as a field, farm or nation, in the face of stress or shock. On the other hand, Bartelmus (1997) opined that there are two concepts of sustainability, one, the economic sustainability is production and consumption oriented and two, the ecological sustainability has sustenance of people and biodiversity conservation as its focal points. Therefore, in any discussion of sustainability, it is most important to clarify what is being sustained, for how long, for whose benefit and at what cost, over what area and measured by what criteria. Further, as situations, conditions and knowledge of the people changes continuously, the definitions of sustainability are time-specific and also place specific.

Recently, Food and Agricultural Organization's (1998) Special Programme for Food Security (SPFS) viewed the poultry as a crucial element in the struggle for sustained food production and poverty alleviation. Poultry farming has a special favour with the rural people because of its potential to provide supplementary income in the shortest possible time, simplicity in operation and not too heavy demand on resources (Iqbaluddin 1998). From sustainability issues, Bessei (1993) pointed out that rural poultry farming (RPF) is sustainable from both biological and socio-economic point of view. Besides, Deshai (1998) also stated that poultry farming in backyard system does not pollute the environment, but yields an excellent quality of organic manure which helps in sustainable agriculture.

The advent of commercial germ-plasm has resulted in manifold increase in production and today India ranks 4th in egg production and 18th in broiler production in the World. However, about 80 per cent of the eggs and almost 100 per cent of the broiler produced commercially are consumed in urban areas (Gayathri et al 1998). The demand of rural areas is therefore, to be met by backyard poultry. The traditional poultry farming in villages, which was the primary source of animal protein and supplementary income for more than 50 per cent of the population of this country, has suffered in the wake of commercialization (Singh 2000). Therefore, it is highly desirable to give attention to improve the rural poultry production utilizing the modern scientific approach to ensure availability of eggs and meat for the rural people at cheaper rate. The solution lies in promoting RPF in villages not as an occupation but as a sustainable supplement of eggs, meat for their own family consumption, as the cheapest source of animal protein to combat malnutrition first and if possible supporting to other household activities. In view of the above, the present study was an attempt to examine the sustainability of rural poultry farming.

Different views of sustainable development

'Development' is a subjective and value-loaded concept; hence, there can not be a consensus as to its meaning. According to Pearce et al (1990), the term 'development' could be conceptualized as a set of desirable societal objectives or a development index which does not decrease over time. Thus, development has multiple dimensions such as economic, social, political, moral and technical.

Devendra and Fuller (1979) stated that a sustainable system is widely practiced in South East Asia and China which involves the integration of pig production with fish farming, duck keeping and vegetable production, or a combination of these enterprises.

The sustainable agriculture should be an economically viable system (Madden 1987), which minimizes the use of external inputs such as pesticides, fertilizer and heavily relies on farm renewable resources.

Redclift (1987) stated that the term "sustainable development suggests the lessions of ecology can, and should, be applied to economic processes. It encompasses the ideas in the World Conservation Strategy, providing an environmental rationale through which the claims of development to improve the quality of all life can be challenged and tested".

The World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED 1987) first emphasized the key role of agricultural sustainability as the basis of sustainable development. They defined sustainable development as 'development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs'.

Barbier (1989) stated that "sustainable economic development refers to the optimal level of interaction between three systems - the biological, the economic and the social - through a dynamic and adaptive process of trade-offs".

According to FAO (1989a) the important issue of developing technologies for sustainable animal production is the development of appropriate and affordable livestock technologies suited to specific agro-climatic zones in developing countries. To satisfy the criteria for sustainability, these technologies should support agricultural development which "conserves land, water, plant and animal genetic resources and are environmentally non-degrading, economically viable and socially acceptable".

'Sustainable development' was defined by FAO (1989b) as 'the management and conservation of the natural resource base, and the orientation of technological and institutional change in such a manner as to ensure the attainment and continued satisfaction of human needs for present and future generations.

Swaminathan (1991) indicated fourteen dimensions of sustainable agriculture i.e., technical appropriability, economic feasibility, economic viability, environmental soundness, temporal stability, resource use efficiency, local adoptability, social acceptability and social sustainability, political tacitness, administrative manageability, cultural desirability, renewability, equity and productivity.

Effective sustainability is a long term process and should assure the effective integration of the various components of the system. After four years experience with the National Network, Branckaert (1993) highlighted that the increase of cash income, land protection, increase of food-crop production, non conventional feeds, improvement of diet can be the positive features of sustainable development.

Fliert (1993) reported that the experience of the Indonesian integrated pest management have interesting perspectives for extension supporting sustainable agriculture.

Chantalakhana (1994) stated that the implication of sustainable animal production on the environment, production system, resource management and conservation are the future of research and development in animal production in order to promote food production without polluting the environment and depleting natural resources.

Titi and Singh (1994) define 'sustainable livelihoods as people's capacities to generate and maintain their means of living enhance their well-being and that of future generations. These capacities depend on the availability and accessibility of options which are sustainable ecologically, socially and economically, and which are 'predicated on equity, ownership of resources and participatory decision making'.

Pretty (1996) pointed out that in any discussion on sustainability, it is important to clarify what is being sustained, for how long, for whose benefit and at whose cost, over what area and measured by what criteria.

An operational definition of sustainable development was given by Bartelmus (1997) as 'a set of development programmes that meets the target of human needs satisfaction without violating long-term natural resource capacities and standards of environmental quality and social equity'.

Bhat and Taneja (1998) opined that small farm animal rearing involves little external inputs such as feed, medicines, chemicals or breeding stock. Most of the animals depend on locally available feed resources such as crop residues, they are relatively well adapted to the surroundings such as heat and humidity, and their genetic and reproductive abilities make them self-sustaining animal systems, it may be indigenous chickens, pigs, sheep, goats, cattle and buffalo production system.

Reddy (1998) stated that, for a sustainable poultry development, adopting indigenous, appropriate and affordable technology with 'low external inputs' may be conducive rather than using either ' high external inputs' or 'low internal inputs' to provide adequate employment, improve the income and nutritional security of rural people.

Deming (1999) indicated three factors for sustainable development i.e. economic, social and environmental. Among these, the environmental factor is the most important because he opined that if the environment is damaged it will be impossible to realize sustainable development.

Nayak and Iqbaluddin (2000) pointed out that maintaining low input-output microbreeds more suited for rural condition than commercial breeds may be considered only sustainable for local needs, they may have high export potential owing to their 'eco-friendly', 'organic' nature of produce.

Singh and Chattaraj (2000) stated that the sustainability dimension of technology development demands resource conservation combined with technical feasibility, economic viability and social acceptability over a perceivable future.

Models of sustainable development

There are several dictionary meanings of model i.e. 'a representation of small than the original' or 'a particular design or type of product' or 'a simple description of a systems' etc. At the same time several authors, viz. Deutsch (1952) stated that models perform an organizing function explaining relationship of one part to another and in giving us an idea of the whole system. Broadbeck (1959) and Bross (1965) stated that models have a somewhat ambiguous standing in the philosophy of science. Models are the symbolic representation of structures objects or operations (Sandhu 1993).

The biovillage model of rural development was described by M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation (Swaminathan 1994-95), as a nice example of sustainable development, since it pays concurrent and integrated attention to natural resources conservation, productivity improvement and poverty eradication. The model is based on the identification and promotion of market driven small scale enterprises, which lend themselves to decentralized production supported by a few key centralized services. Thus, the bio-village project is based on a participatory action research model with resource poor farm families, scientists and financial institutions, working and learning together.

Small farming semi-scavenging poultry development model according to Huque (1996), is a self- sustainable complete package based on almost all local resources. This model has given an opportunity for income generation to the poorest of the poor and land less poor, particularly destitute or landless women in Bangladesh. The model has a package of seven components (poultry women vaccinator, chick rearers, key rearers, model rearers, mini hatcheries, egg collectors and feed sellers) supported by small amount of credit supply without any collaborative support. The model is some what aggregative in terms of number of resource categories, products, ecological and economic attributes and external linkage it takes into account. According to Chopra and Kadekodi (1999) the model is therefore to be considered more appropriately as a prototype capable of exploring alternative development paths and providing insights into possible alternative policies for sustainable development.

Various types of model were described by Khan (1999), to improve the village chicken production system in rural areas of India viz. scavenger model, production model, Madhya Pradesh Corporation model, Bangladesh model and Ghana model. In scavenger model though fewer eggs are produced per hen but in view of the no input addition the production cost is almost zero. The clutch sequence commensurate with the availability of natural nutritional input as at the beginning of the monsoon, end of the monsoon and the winter spell. The gap between scavenger feed available and the feed required is difficult to determine due to lack of knowledge and the diversity associated with the agroclimatic zones. In production model desirable type of birds (coloured dual purpose, cross bred, Krishna-J synthetic fowl of desi replica), feed supplement, disease protection by thermostable vaccines, marketing support through consumer cooperative are designed in such a way that it fits in their way of life. Madhya Pradesh Corporation Model involved contract rising of pullets followed by distribution to small production units of 250-500 caged birds with marketing support as its active traits. This system requires assurance of input availability and outputs with the specialized training to beneficiaries. Bangladesh model emphasize to raise the pullets from village level mother units actively involving the women folk and the Ghana model provides facilities to farmers to raise their own stock under active observations.


Methodology

After searching a lot of review and experts opinion a sustainability index was developed on the basis of measures of six indicators i.e. productivity, efficiency, stability, durability, compatibility and equity by Mandal et al (2005). Simultaneously, keeping in view the existing scenario, a model for RPF was also developed by Mandal et al (2005) in active collaboration with the NATP, small farm rural poultry production project team which included seven steps i.e. vaccination, supply of 8 weeks vaccinated improved germ- plasm, training, feeding, production, replacement stock, feedback and guidance .

The effectiveness of the model was measured in terms of proposed sustainability indicators (i.e. productivity, stability, efficiency, durability, compatibility and equity).

Experimental Study

The experimental study was conducted in purposively selected two villages (i.e., Vikrampur and Dhakia) of Bareilly district of Uttar Pradesh in order to examine the effectiveness of the model from sustainability point of view. Four types of high yielding germ-plasm suitable for backyard production have been developed with four different native fowl base especially suitable for different climatic regions of the country at Central Avian Research Institute, Izatnagar, Bareilly. These birds have combination of 50 per cent native and 50 per cent exotic blood and possess other characteristics essentials for backyard/ scavenging poultry production. The different improved indigenous germ-plasm was CARI Nirbheek, CARI Shyama, UPCARI and HITCARI.

Twenty five respondents with improved indigenous germ-plasm were selected from each of the two villages. Thus, the information was gathered from 50 respondents using structured interview schedule. The responses from the two villages were then combined and effectiveness of the model was judged by comparing the two flocks (i.e. improved indigenous germ-plasm and existing non-descript birds) using the before and after design. The data, thus generated were analyzed using appropriate statistical methods like frequency distribution, percentage, mean and standard deviation.


Results and discussion

The study measured the sustainability of RPF in terms of proposed indicators (i.e. productivity, stability, efficiency, durability, compatibility and equity) by Mandal et al (2005).

Productivity

Table 1 indicates that all the respondent's improves indigenous flock were highly productive, whereas, in case of non-descript existing birds majority (68%) of the respondents' flock had very low productivity, followed by least productive (i.e. 32%).Van Loon et al (2000) indicated that for an enterprise to be sustainable it is essential that it should be productive in terms of yield as well as profit. The improved indigenous flocks were highly productive in comparison to the existing non-descript birds.

Table 1.  Distribution of respondents according to productivity of flock  (N=100)

Productivity

Improved indigenous flock

Non-descript flock

Highly productive

50

0

Productive

0

0

Low productivity

0

0

Very low productivity

0

34

Least productive

0

16

Total

50

50

 

Stability

The findings in the Table 2 points out that majority of the respondents (68%) improved indigenous birds were stable, followed by 32 per cent respondents who were having highly stable flock. On the other hand, in case of existing non-descript birds majority of the respondents' (32%) flock were least stable, followed by very low stability (28%), low stability (28%) and stable (12%). None of the respondents were having highly stable flock.

Table 2.  Distribution of respondents according to stability of flock  N=100

Stability

Improved indigenous flock

Non-descript flock

Highly stable

16

0

Stable

34

6

Low stability

0

14

Very low stability

0

14

Least stable

0

16

Total

50

50

 

Stability i.e. maintaining good level of productivity over extended period of time is another important indicator for sustainability. Since, the model manifest the use of replacement stock the stability of the enterprise is assured as also evident from the result, whereas, in the existing flock there is very low stability.

Efficiency

On monetary basis, the findings in the Table 3 indicates that majority of the respondents' (96%) improved indigenous flock were highly efficient, whereas, in non-descript flock majority of the poultry owners (76%) had low efficiency flock, followed by only 18 per cent respondents who had an efficient flock.

Table 3.  Distribution of respondents according to efficiency of flock    N=100

Efficiency

Improved indigenous flock

Non-descript flock

Highly efficient

48

0

Efficient

2

9

Low efficiency

0

38

Very low efficiency

0

3

Least efficient

0

0

Total

50

50

 

The Table 4 shows the energy (ME) input-output ratio of existing non-descript flock vis-a vis improved indigenous flock. It has been estimated that the energy utilization efficiency of improved indigenous and non-descript flock were 12.29 per cent and 6.08 per cent, respectively. The table also shows that 0.14 units of energy (in terms of consumable outputs) arte produced per unit of energy on the input side in improved flock, whereas, in the non-descript flock it was 0.064.

Table 4.  Energy input-output in non-descript vis--vis improved indigenous germ-plasm under scavenging system

Features

Non-descript flock

Improved indigenous flock

No. of eggs/yr./bird

50

155

Maintenance energy, Kcal

88145

98706

Production energy, Kcal

5711

13830

Total energy, Kcal

93856

112536

Supplementary feeding, Kcal

33995

52676

Scavenging feeding, Kcal

59860

59860

Energy utilization efficiency, %

6.08

12.29

Energy input: output*

1:0.064

1:0.140

Scavenging : supplementary

1:0.57

1:0.88

Energy = Metabolized energy

Total energy + Maintenance + production

*Output in terms of consumable energy

The efficiency of an enterprise can be measured in monetary terms as well as through the energy input-output ratio. From the monetary point of view the study reveals that improved indigenous flocks were highly efficient in comparison to the existing non-descript flocks. This can be justified by more productivity of the improved germ-plasm which in turn reflects the profitability of the enterprise. Regarding energy input-output ratio, both the flock can effectively utilize the scavenging materials. However, the improved flock have an edge over the non-descript birds in terms of energy utilization efficiency and also the energy input-output ratio. Since, economic sustainability is a very important factor and moreover, the value of the produce is of more value in nutritional terms too. This makes the improved breeds much more efficient that the non-descript birds.

Durability

A cursory look at Table 5 shows that majority of the respondents' (96%) improved indigenous flock were highly durable, followed by only 4 per cent of respondents were having durable flock, whereas, in case of existing flock majority of the respondents' (74%) had a flock with low durability, followed by 20 per cent and 6 per cent respondents having durable and very low durability flock, respectively.

Table 5.  Distribution of respondents according to durability of flock N=100

Durability

Improved indigenous flock

Non-descript flock

Highly durable

48

0

Durable

2

10

Low durability

0

37

Very low durability

0

3

Least durable

0

0

Total

50

50

 

The ability to resist environmental stress is an important factor which will consequently be reflected in continuation of an enterprise. As reflected by the literal meaning of sustainability i.e. keeps going continuously) the durability is one the important indicator of sustainability. The improved indigenous birds were found to be more durable than existing non-descript birds.

Compatibility

The findings in the Table 6 indicates that both the flocks (i.e. improved indigenous and existing non-descript) were highly compatible for all the respondents.

Table 6.  Distribution of respondents according to compatibility of flock  N=100

Compatibility

Improved indigenous flock

Non-descript flock

High compatibility

50

50

Compatible

0

0

Low compatibility

0

0

Very low compatibility

0

0

Least compatible

0

0

Total

50

50

 

According to Roger (1995) compatibility is the degree to which an innovation is perceived and needs of potential adopter. Thus, the compatibility of an enterprise or its product depends upon socio-cultural life of the rural people. A number of authors, including Veluw (1987), Sonaiya (1990), Gunaratne et al (1992), Dana (1998) and Saha (2003) have emphasized that rural poultry plays a significant role through their contribution to the cultural and social life of rural people. A similar scenario existed in the villages under study, it was indicated that both improved indigenous and non-descript flocks were highly compatible from socio-cultural point of view.

Equity

With regard to the equity issue a similar picture can be observed for both the flocks. The Table 7 clearly indicates that 54 per cent and 46 per cent of the respondents per cent of the respondents were falling in the highly equitable and equitable categories, respectively. None of the respondents belonged to low, very low and least equitable category.

Table 7.  Distribution of respondents according to equity of flock      N=100

Equity

Improved indigenous flock

Non-descript flock

High equity

27

27

Medium equity

23

23

Low equity

0

0

Very low equity

0

0

Least equitable

0

0

Total

50

50

 

Equity i.e. a well marked division of labour within the family and community as a whole is another important indicator for sustainable farming Singh (2003). Poultry farming under the backyard system does not require much attention for management and thus, all the family members can be involved (no gender specificity) in this enterprise and it is also affordable to all since the inputs are very cheap. The study showed a similar picture i.e. both the flocks were highly equitable.

Overall Sustainability

A cursory look at Table 8 clearly shows all the respondents' improved indigenous flock were highly sustainable, whereas, incase of non-descript flock majority of the respondents' (90%) had low sustainability flock. None of the respondent's flock was belonging to highly sustainable category.

Table 8.  Distribution of respondents according to overall sustainability of  flock  N=100

Overall sustainability

Improved indigenous flock

Non-descript flock

Highly productive

50

0

Productive

0

5

Low productivity

0

45

Very low productivity

0

0

Least productive

0

0

Total

50

50

 

The attempt made to test the overall sustainability of the flock clearly shows that the improved indigenous germ-plasm were highly sustainable, whereas, non-descript flock has low sustainable. Given the effectiveness of the study by suitably modifying the model according to the local needs a change in the nutritional scenario could definitely be achieved.

Difference in mean score of sustainability indicators between improved indigenous flock and existing non-descript flock

A cursory look at Table 9 points out that the mean difference of productivity, stability, efficiency and durability for improved indigenous flock and existing non-descript flock were highly significant at P<0.01 level of significance, whereas, compatibility and equity of both the flocks showed no significant difference.

Table 9.  Difference in mean score of sustainability indicators between improved indigenous flock and existing non-descript flock

Overall sustainability

Improved indigenous flock

Non-descript flock

t- value

Productivity

23.8

6.9

88.8**

Stability

14.7

7.5

13.4**

Efficiency

15.5

9.3

24.6**

Durability

11.9

7.1

24.3**

Compatibility

14.9

15.1

.082NS

Equity

10.4

10.4

0.24NS

Overall Sustainability

91.1

55.9

55.5**

Total

50

50

 

** P< 0.01

NS= Non significant


Conclusions


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Received 10 March 2006; Accepted 3 April 2006; Published 11 May 2006

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