Hendrix Genetics secures grant to provide affordable, high-quality chickens to African farmers

Published on March 22, 2024

Hendrix Genetics secures grant to provide affordable, high-quality chickens to African farmers

Hendrix Genetics receives grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to develop and deliver chickens that will improve the lives of small-scale African poultry farmers.

Boxmeer, the Netherlands-EU, March 22, 2024

Hendrix Genetics has been awarded a multi-year grant by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to support rural farming, local communities, and small-scale poultry farmers in Africa. Under the grant, Hendrix Genetics will co-invest significant resources to not only develop poultry breeds tailored for Africa but also deliver the animals to small-scale farmers in an effective way. Hendrix Genetics will work closely with other players in the poultry value chain to ensure that small-scale farmers in Africa have access to affordable, high-quality genetics.

Investment in Africa for Africa

This program has the power to make a real impact on the lives of small-scale African farmers through transforming the poultry value chain. This program builds on the foundations laid by us and our partners on how to reach the small-scale farmers. We will further accelerate our genetic improvement of parent stock. This includes expanding testing birds under African conditions which will allow us to better breed chickens adapted to local conditions, including climate, housing systems, and feed. We will also investigate the opportunity to establish a grandparent facility in Africa for Africa to secure access to parent stock. Through collaboration with partners, we aim to improve the efficiency of the poultry value chain, which will lead to more affordable chickens for small-scale farmers.

SASSO, the traditional poultry brand of Hendrix Genetics, has been an important partner in this program. Currently, SASSO supplies hundreds of thousands parent stock to African partners each year, reaching millions of small holder farmers that produce billions of table eggs and millions of chickens for meat. Further expanding the market and improving genetic performance will amplify the impact these dual-purpose chickens have on the lives of many Africans.

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Investment in Recurrent Testing is an important step to develop the poultry value chain in Africa for Africa. More data insights will allow us to deliver even better parent stock and drive tailored technical support for this region.

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Louis Perrault
Senior Advisor, SASSO

Empowering a sustainable supply chain

Key to the success of this program is the sustainable link between each part of the value chain. At the start of the value chain, African distribution companies use the parent stock birds to produce day-old chicks. The day-old chicks are sold to mother units, which grow the day-old chicks to 4-week-old teen chicks. The teen chicks are then sold to smaller-scale farmers. In the program, systems will be developed to support the local parent stock farm to improve performance at each link in the chain. These activities will further increase the affordability of quality poultry for the small-scale farmers. Additionally, genetic improvement of the dual-purpose breeds will further enhance the productivity and robustness of the chickens under local conditions which will bring additional food security and income to the small-scale farmers.

The project will be led by Hendrix Genetics’ Program Manager Dr. Naomi Duijvesteijn, where she will coordinate the different activities to achieve the ambitious targets set together with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to ensure an impactful and effective program.

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Animal genetics has already played a key role in improving the sustainability of animal production in different parts of the world and will continue to do so in the future. With the combination of Hendrix Genetics’ mission to support the global food challenge with high-quality genetics and investment in this program, the future will look brighter for agriculture and food production in Africa.

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Naomi Duijvesteijn
Program Manager

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