Tadelle Dessie of the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), who leads the African Chicken Genetic Gains (ACGG) project and Negussie Dana and Wondmenh Esatu from the Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research (EIAR) have been honoured by the Ethiopian Government for their seminal work on genetic improvement of Ethiopian indigenous chickens’ egg productivity.
The collaborative research program led by ILRI, EIAR and Wagenigen University on the development of Horro chicken breed was recognized by Hailemariam Desalegn, Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, at the 6th National Science, Mathematics, Research and Innovation Award on 14 November 2015.
Tadelle and his colleagues started a breeding program, at the Debre Zeit Agricultural Research Centre to improve the productivity of indigenous Horro chickens in Ethiopia in 2004, with the vision of transforming village chicken production systems. They have successfully increased egg production of 11 month-old hens from a mere 34 eggs to 79 within eight generations of mass selection.
The success of Horro chicken genetics research is being expanded and translated to improve the livelihoods of millions of smallholder farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation-funded ACGG project in Tanzania, Ethiopia and Nigeria.
The event, which was organized by the Ethiopian Ministry of Science and Technology under the theme, ‘Science, technology, and research for economic development of a nation,’ acknowledged researchers and inventors who have excelled in science and technology research in the country this year.