Genetic gains research to transform smallholder chicken farming in Southeast Asia

The International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI)-led Asian Chicken Genetic Gains, or AsCGG, project is improving smallholder chicken production by increasing access to locally acceptable, adapted and highly productive chickens in Southeast Asia.

Launched in May 2021, AsCGG is funded by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR). It is availing new and proven technologies to increase chicken production in Cambodia, Myanmar and Vietnam.

ILRI scientist and the principal investigator (PI) of the project, Tadelle Dessie, notes that low-producing chicken genotypes typically dominate smallholder production systems and are an essential component of the livelihoods of poor rural households. ‘It is important to strengthen smallholder chicken production to generate income, create jobs and improve nutrition for the poor who depend on them and to empower women, who are often the primary chicken farmers in these systems,’ he said.

Project staff interview a farmer during baseline survey in Ha Nam Province, Vietnam (photo credit: NIAS/Tran Trung Thong).

This four-year partnership is between ILRI and national agricultural research and development institutes in the three countries, including Cambodia’s National Animal Health and Production Research Institute (NAHPRI), Myanmar’s Livestock Veterinary and Breeding Department (LVBD) and Vietnam’s National Institute of Animal Sciences (NIAS). The partnership will contribute to many of the agricultural development priorities of these countries, which target, among other goals, boosting the productivity of smallholder chicken farming and support value chain actors.

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the project team has attained several achievements, mainly in Vietnam and Cambodia. These include the completion of a baseline survey in November and December 2021 in Ha Nam (Red River Delta), Hoa Binh (Northwest) and Quang Binh (North Central Coast) provinces of Vietnam; characterization of three indigenous poultry breeds and establishment of national innovation platforms both in Vietnam and Cambodia.

The innovation platform brings together the key value chain actors in smallholder chicken value chain development. In Vietnam, the first national innovation platform was organized in September 2021 and two community innovation platforms were subsequently established in Quang Binh and Ha Nam provinces in December 2021. The three meetings brought together about 100 participants from local authorities and poultry farmers to discuss profitable small-scale chicken production systems, integrated with locally available feeding resources and improved environmental sustainability. Participants selected one famous breed for each province of Quang Binh (Ri Lac Son) and Ha Nam (Mong) to test throughout the project.

The innovation platform launches in Quang Binh Province, Vietnam (photo credit: NIAS/Tran Trung Thong).

Hoang Thi Thom, a poultry farmer in Ha Nam Province, said ‘The innovation platform is a good place for chicken producers and related actors in our commune to share experiences and techniques on chicken raising and market information.’

Le Anh Tuan, Vice chair of the Son Hoa communal-level People’s Committee, Quang Binh Province, appreciated the initiative and committed to providing strong support to the project. He hoped that the AsCGG project will contribute to the sustainable development of the local small-scale chicken system and help women and poor farmers to find additional sources of income.

For more information contact ILRI’s Tadelle Dessie, t.dessie[at]

(The post was written by Ngo Thi Kim Cuc, Hoang Hai Hoa, Fred Unger, Chi Nguyen and Tadelle Dessie. Ngo Thi Kim Cuc works for NIAS and Hoang Hai Hoa, Fred Unger, Chi Nguyen and Tadelle Dessie work for ILRI)