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EGS-ABG : European Graduate School in Animal Breeding and Genetics

Development and evaluation of poultry breeding programs for smallholders in Africa

Nr : 12-WU-AU

Topic : Development and evaluation of poultry breeding programs for smallholders in Africa

Host Institutions :
Wageningen University (The Netherlands)
Aarhus University (Denmark)

Summary :
In Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), the majority of the rural and peri-urban people are poor and nutritionally insecure with little or no access to animal source foods. Keeping poultry is the most basic form of livestock keeping for many poor households. The most significant genetic constraints to smallholder poultry productivity in Africa are the lack of structured genetic improvement and germplasm delivery systems. Tropical indigenous poultry populations have co-evolved with the local and changing environment conditions, such as extreme heat, poor feed resources and exposure to endemic disease. These populations are generally under-exploited due to the lack of effective improvement programs. In ADAPPT which will start in 2015, 15 improved and local breeds (from here on referred to as ecotypes) will be tested and evaluated in smallholder systems in 3 ecological zones in 3 countries: Ethiopia, Nigeria and Tanzania. This project will generate a unique databank for exploring the differences between ecotypes in adaptation and productivity traits and serves as a starting point for the development of breeding schemes for African smallholder systems in different ecological zones. This PhD project aims to use the data from this multi-country ?poultry resources evaluation? for developing a model that is capable of predicting the best ecotype for given ecological conditions. Objectives: 1) To analyse the relationship between ecosystem characteristics and the performance of poultry ecotypes (breeds and breed crosses). 2) To develop a model that enables prediction of the best ecotype for a given ecosystem. 3) To design a poultry breeding program to improve the performance under a range of ecosystems.

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