Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Alternative Chicken Feed Systems in Haiti

Worm box used to raise black soldier
fly larva and worms
Let’s say you wanted to help rural farmers improve their food security by raising chickens and producing eggs, but the high cost of chicken feed would create dependency on outside vendors and limits profits. What if you could reduce feed cost, improve the chickens’ diet, and support locally sustainable systems? Partners' Farmer-to-Farmer volunteer, Patryk Battle, spent two weeks in Haiti in September to demonstrate how plant waste, grazing, raising black soldier fly larva, and vermiculture could do just this.

Patryk worked with Royal Palm, a local organization that has a pilot demonstration plot and egg production site in Haiti. Due to the high cost of chicken feed, Royal Palm has sought technical assistance in identifying alternative chicken feed systems. These alternative chicken feed systems could not only enable farmers to generate more income, but also provide an environmentally sustainable solution to reduce costs. In Haiti, some available sources of alternative chicken feed include the black soldier fly and vermiculture, as well as vegetative crop waste. 

During his assignment, Patryk evaluated these local resources and trained over 100 individuals through hands-on demonstrations on the production of soldier fly larva, worm composting, and compost tea. These methods have been incorporated into Royal Palm's demonstration farm and serve as a model  system that uses local materials to produce alternative chicken feed while also increasing soil fertility, reducing feeding costs, and improving bird health and egg quality. On this system, Patryk states, "The chicken feed, instead of being an end in itself, can form part of what will become a dynamic and productive farming system. . . This is the only real solution to sustainably producing chicken feed in Haiti."

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