Filomena dos Anjos is passionate about poultry. For the past 15 years, this senior lecturer and veterinarian at Eduardo Mondlane University in Mozambique has worked with poultry farmers—who are primarily women—to control Newcastle disease through vaccination campaigns. In Mozambique, more than 70 percent of the rural families keep chickens, which have great socio-economic importance, contributing to household food security and income. However, the production level is low due to disease, deficient nutrition, and general mismanagement. Feed is the most important factor in commercial poultry farming since it represents some 70-80 percent of total costs both in egg and poultry yields.
Dos Anjos is helping farmers find innovative ways to overcome the scarcity and high cost of feed. She is researching the use of more cost-effective feed ingredients, such as pigeon peas and cowpeas, to increase efficiency and profitability of poultry production systems to benefit farmers.
The critical role of women in agriculture—both researchers like dos Anjos and the female smallholders she serves—seems obvious. However, a disturbing disconnect exists. While the majority of those who produce, process and market Africa’s food are women, only one in four agricultural researchers is female, according to a 2008 benchmarking study conducted by African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD). Even fewer—one in seven—hold leadership positions in African agricultural research institutions. (Read the full post on CGIAR.org)
Photo credit: Carlos Litulo