Vaccines, poultry and the poor women farmers and reseachers making a difference in Africa


Seventy percent of the world's rural poor rely on raising livestock for their day to day living. They contribute to both poverty alleviation and food security. Livestock not only provide protein and micronutrients for human nutrition and well being, they are also an important source of cash income, can assist with manual labour and provide financial security as a form of savings. Newcastle disease (ND) is considered the most economically important poultry disease worldwide and its impact on family based poultry producers and traders is significant. This situation was the motivation for the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) and Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) support for research into developing and using thermotolerant (I-2) ND vaccines that have subsequently been taken up by other donors over the past 2 decades. This work has delivered exceptionally high socio-economic returns. While anecdotal evidence suggests that poultry meat and eggs are important supplementations to household grain-based diets, no systemic study has yet been conducted to determine the specific means and pathways by which food security and human nutrition has been improved and how they could be further strengthened. In support of increased poultry and crop value chain efficiency and household food and nutrition security, this research partnership will answer the following questions:

  • Can deliberate and strategic linkages between family run poultry production and crop farming improve the socio-economic and biological efficiency of both operations?
  • Can family poultry production and trade be increased by supplementing the birds' feed intake with by-products from crop farming? 
  • Can increased efficiency of family poultry production and trade contribute to ecologically sustainable agriculture and improved food security and human nutrition?
On the ground participation and partnership are central to the project as are gender and ecologically sustainable production. By harnessing the strength of women farmers in Africa, the project is determined to yield beneficial outcomes for their households and their wider communities.


Associate Professor Robyn Alders, AO

Research Location

Sydney School of Veterinary Science

Program Type



Family poultry production can directly increase nutritional outcomes by providing food and indirectly by providing cash income to purchase food. Poultry meat and eggs provide high quality protein and micronutrients that are more easily taken up by the human body than plant based nutrients. These benefits are of notable significance to vulnerable community members such as growing children and people infected with HIV. Poor quality agricultural production can be detrimental to human nutrition, for example contaminated meat and crops treated with poorly regulated pesticides can cause human illness and as a result avoidance of vital food resources by family groups or communities. These issues become especially raw in the overarchingly food insecure environments in rural Eastern and Southern Africa.

Additional Information

Further information: The project is based at the Camden Campus.
Eligibility: The successful applicant must apply for and be awarded a scholarship (stipend) for example, an Australian Postgraduate Award (APA).

For intenational students, AusAID scholarships are available for eligible students. Students must have scholarship which covers full tuition fees and living allowance.

Further information: Please contact A/Professor Robyn Alders.

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Newcastle disease vaccination, poultry vaccine, poultry

Opportunity ID

The opportunity ID for this research opportunity is: 1639

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