Tanzania: Fighting poverty in their own backyard

In rural areas of Tanzania, more than 90 per cent of households keep chickens, but few keep more than 20. Oxfam works with local partners to provide training and vaccinations to smallholders to manage larger broods of 50 and turn the potential in their own backyards into a valuable source of income.

231,000 chickens have already been vaccinated, resulting in healthier birds that fetch higher prices.

Oxfam’s training also helps chicken farmers form community groups, get credit and organize their finances effectively. Organized groups have a competitive edge with which to negotiate more formal trading arrangements directly with established wholesalers and retailers. Normally, chickens are sold in small numbers for low prices to middlemen. So far 118 groups have been set up.

Samaka Jilungile is a member of a chicken keeping group in Zanzei village.

The group contributes to a fund so that members can get small loans, e.g. for seeds or chicken house materials.

“Oxfam trained us in chicken keeping. Then they worked with us to set up the project group. We’ve vaccinated nearly 800 chickens so far. Disease was a real problem before. People can see the benefit and are now copying what we are doing.”

Zanzei’s chicken group has also contributed to a fund. Members buy shares in the group and, from this pot, members can get small loans for things such as seeds or materials to build chicken houses. There is also an emergency social welfare fund in case any of the members gets into financial difficulties.

Zanzei’s group is now looking to build a village chicken shed, from where they can guarantee sales of high quality chickens in much larger quantities.

Research and experience has shown that supporting smallholder farmers and producers lifts communities out of poverty, and Oxfam has big ideas. Oxfam in Tanzania has an ambitious program to help boost chicken, sisal, rice, and chickpea production to provide a route out of poverty for one million rural Tanzanians.

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