The Potential of Crossbreeding Indigenous Chickens to Improve Rural Food Security and Nutrition in Southern Africa- A Review
The need to increase poultry production in southern Africa to meet the increasing protein requirement of the growing population is becoming a great concern. The quality of poultry meat and eggs produced in terms of taste, texture, flavour and leanness are of importance to consumers. Crossbreeding indigenous with exotic strains of chickens is one of the main factors that can improve food and nutrition security in southern Africa. In this article, ways in which the quality and quantity of poultry meat and eggs can be improved for sustainable food and nutrition security in southern Africa, with emphasis on crossbreeding as a prospective food security (protein) stability technique are discussed. This article is based on critical analysis of the literature and discusses and evaluates various crossbreeding methods of chickens that have been carried out in African countries. Comparative studies on the implementation, failures and successes of crossbreeding of chickens in African countries, such as Egypt, Botswana, Malawi and South Africa among others are reviewed. Crossbreeding, combined with selection, information dissemination, improved management and technology, is recommended for the geometric increase in poultry meat and egg production in southern Africa to improve food and nutrition security.