Poultry International - July 2018 - 22
22 ❙ PoultryInternational
improvements in feeding and raising chickens to help
them develop and grow viable poultry businesses.
More than 60 percent of Ethiopian households already keep poultry, and family production is seen as
key to responding to rapidly rising demand for poultry
products in the country.
The ILRI notes that poultry research is integral to
its approach to developing and scaling up interventions, and it is hoped that improved poultry genetics,
breeding and feeding will offer opportunities to transform backyard poultry farming into a thriving marketorientated business, not only providing food but also
raising incomes, generating employment and foreign
Incubated Worlds has a reach extending further
than Ethiopia alone, and work at the facility will be
closely connected to the poultry genomic program
jointly administered by ILRI, Scotland's Rural College
and the University of Edinburgh in their collaborative
Centre for Tropical Livestock Genetics and Health.
Gebregziabher Gebreyohannes, representative of
the Ethiopian government at the official opening of
Incubated Worlds, commented: "We are proud that
the facility will not only host Ethiopian chickens and
provide a quality research facility, but that it also displays the first DNA sequencing undertaken of one of
Ethiopia's indigenous birds - a wonderful illustration
of collaboration between the Ethiopian Institute of
Agricultural Research and ILRI.
"Being able to unpick the genetic code of indigenous chickens will significantly improve understanding and use of their genetic diversity to the benefit
of our country. This knowledge will provide unique
opportunities to understand, monitor and strengthen
the resilience and productivity of these chickens in a
The genetics facility contains an art installation
which, it is hoped, will educate farmers in a way that
science alone could not.
The center has worked with Belgian artist Koen
Vanmechelen who, over the past 20 years, has created
20 generations of chickens that combine traits from
breeds from around the world.
This cross-breeding project has resulted in a
bird that Vanmechelen calls the "Cosmopolitan
Chicken," and which is said to be a treasure trove of
The art element of the facility will help to engage
farmers and make education easier than simply relying on
The art installation aspect of Incubated Worlds includes photographs, videos and books offering insight
into the complex genetics of Vanmechelen's work and
of Ethiopian chickens.
Meeting rising demand
Ethiopia is Africa's second most populous state,
with one of the region's largest livestock sectors. The
country's demand for milk, meat and eggs, for domestic consumption and export, is rising rapidly.
As part of efforts to meet this rising demand, the
country's livestock master plan has identified poultry's
huge untapped potential.
With the improvements that are being introduced
through genetics, feed and the provision of animal
health services, it has been projected that, over the next
five years, poultry and egg production in the country
will grow by approximately 200 percent and 800 percent, respectively.■
www.WATTAgNet.com ❙ July 2018