The African Chicken Genetic Gains (ACGG) program in Nigeria participated in a five-day ‘Science, Technology and Innovation for Nigeria’s Economic Diversification Expo’, organized by the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology (FMST) in Abuja on 3–7 April, 2017.
ACGG shared information on the performance of the five breeds being tested by the project; and data on the integration of science, technology, innovation, industry and development in the project. Videos (1,2) on smallholder chicken production as well as one male and one female bird from each of the five breeds, and samples of their eggs, were also presented.
The ACGG booth attracted a wide variety of visitors including children, youth, public servants, potential chicken farmers, smallholder and medium-scale chicken producers, and consumers. More than 1,200 people visited the booth in the course of the expo, including about 400 women. Nearly 1,000 visitors expressed interest in buying both chicks and processed chicken meat of the iTABs (improved tropically adapted breeds) and five commercial farms showed interest in partnering with the project as breeder and brooder farms.
The Federal Minister of Science and Technology, Ogbonnaya Onu visited the ACGG booth, He learned about ACGG’s objectives and activities across Nigeria. He commended the project for availing improved tropically-adapted chicken breeds that perform better than the local breeds. Other official who visited the ACGG booth included the head of service of the federation, Winifre Oyo Ita, the director general of the Federal Institute of Industrial Research, Gloria Elemo, and the Minister of Sports, Solomon Dalung.
ACGG’s key messages at the expo focuses on the following themes:
- Science: The role of genetics were used in developing five improved tropically adapted breeds of chicken.
- Innovation: iTABs were deployed specifically for smallholder chicken production
- Technology: Applications in genetics, nutrition, health and management of the iTABs
- Industrial linkages: The development of the smallholder chicken value chain through public-private partnerships
- Development: Efforts towards food security, poverty alleviation, improved household income and livelihoods.
Other exhibitors at the Expo included universities, research institutions, federal and state government agencies and parastatals, entrepreneurs, engineering and construction companies, secondary schools, inventors and innovators from different sectors across the country.
Overall, over 80% of the visitors (particularly women) to the ACGG Nigeria booth wanted to buy and rear the iTABs, reflecting their desire of smallholder chicken farmers for a ‘better breed’ i.e. chickens that grow bigger and lay more eggs than the unimproved local chickens.
The team also saw the need to continue engaging with the public on the activities of ACGG, using communication channels, and methods that are easily understood by both the educated and uneducated people.
The long-term impact of ACGG will depend on the availability and accessibility of the iTABs. Participation at the expo helped in creating public awareness for ACGG, its objectives and its operations. The project has been invited by the FMST to participate in the 2018 edition in March 2018.