Ethiopian native chickens are bred with Belgian ‘cosmopolitan chicken’ for greater prosperity in rural Ethiopian poverty

Chicken to be sampled

An Ethiopian chicken being sampled by ILRI scientists (photo credit: ILRI/Camille Hanotte).

‘The International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and Flemish conceptual artist Koen Vanmechelen joined forces last year to strengthen research into more resistant and productive poultry for Africa south of the Sahara.

‘Today, the research center and associated poultry farm “Incubated Worlds” opens in the presence of Gebregziabher Gebreyohannes, state minister, ministry of agriculture and livestock. Vanmechelen wants to help improve the lives of local communities through this crossing project. . . .

‘Vanmechelen gives an artistic-scientific surplus to the initiative. He previously gained fame with his Cosmopolitan Chicken Project (CCP) for which he started to cross national and regional chicken breeds into cosmopolitan chickens, an artistic metaphor for the global cultural and genetic melting pot.

‘Vanmechelens CCP chicken currently contains genetic material from chickens from around 20 countries including Belgium, the Netherlands, France, America, Germany, Mexico, Brazil, Turkey, Russia, China, Egypt and Senegal.

‘We combine the ultramodern research facility in Ethiopia with the fascinating art installations of Koen Vanmechelen, because he translates the importance of genetic diversity to the public in a way that science can not do’, says ILRI director general Jimmy Smith.

‘”We are also planning to cross his cosmopolitan chicken with a local Ethiopian chicken to develop resilient poultry that produces enough eggs but that also has the genetic diversity to survive devastating diseases and adapt to climate change.”. . .

‘This will be the sexiest research center for chickens in the world’, says Vanmechelen. ‘A place that shows that this farm animal, which occurs in almost every country and is accepted as food in every religion, is the product of many local communities.’

‘The initiative is in line with a large-scale research into productive and resistant chickens for local communities in Ethiopia, Nigeria and Tanzania and is made possible with the support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.’

Read the whole article at Mondiaal Nieuws: Belgian world chickens against Ethiopian poverty, 26 Apr 2018.

Read an article at Thomson Reuters Foundation: Art and science marry in Ethiopia’s quest for the perfect chicken, 26 Apr 2018.

Read ILRI’s press release about this launch: Art and science bring poultry genetics to life in Ethiopia while celebrating local diversity in all its forms, 26 Apr 2018.