Nelly Bassily | September 23, 2013
Local livestock are often well-adapted to their environment. Two recent Farm Radio Weekly stories, Improved livestock breeds allow pastoralists to stay at home (Issue #256, August 2013 http://weekly.farmradio.org/2013/08/05/kenya-improved-livestock-breeds-allow-pastoralists-to-stay-at-home-by-sawa-pius-for-farm-radio-weekly/) and Dairy goats improve food and income security for small-scale farmers (Issue #257, August 2013 http://weekly.farmradio.org/2013/08/19/kenya-dairy-goats-improve-food-and-income-security-for-small-scale-farmers-by-mark-ndipita-for-farm-radio-weekly/) are good examples of efforts to cross-breed local livestock with exotic breeds to produce hardy but more productive animals.
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations has produced a manual entitled Small-scale Poultry Production. You can download it from this address: http://www.fao.org/docrep/008/y5169e/y5169e00.htm#Contents. Chapter 7, Breed Improvement, may be of particular interest if you are researching this subject. A source of information on raising and marketing chickens in Kenya is available here: http://www.infonet-biovision.org/default/ct/274/livestockspecies.
A shorter, six-page manual is available from the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA). Improved Practices in Rearing Indigenous Chickens can be accessed through this link: http://publications.cta.int/media/publications/downloads/1379_full_text.pdf
There are recent Notes to broadcasters on improved livestock breeds from issue #256.The Notes mainly cover larger animals, but the principles of care are similar. You can find them here: http://weekly.farmradio.org/2013/08/05/notes-to-broadcasters-improved-livestock-breeds/. Of course, goats are very important to many African farmers. FRW has produced Notes on improved and exotic goat breeds: http://weekly.farmradio.org/2010/11/08/notes-to-broadcasters-on-exotic-breeds-of-goats/ (Issue #134, November 2010)
One quality that makes local breeds attractive to farmers is their ability to withstand common local diseases. There are several relevant scripts in Resource Pack 63. One of these is: The role of native breeds in maintaining livestock health: Story ideas for the radio (Package 63, Script 3, April 2002). http://www.farmradio.org/radio-resource-packs/a-guide-for-broadcasters-to-some-important-livestock-diseases/the-role-of-native-breeds-in-maintaining-livestock-health-story-ideas-for-the-radio/