Biosecurity for small scale FARMERS
F Sor small-scale farmers biosecurity’s a big word
outh Africa’s poultry producers represent an important sector in animal agriculture, with backyard flocks forming the majority among villagers and small-scale farmers. These communities raise poultry to meet household food demands and provide an additional source of income.
For many of small-scale poultry farmers, biosecurity is a ‘big’ word that makes one think of government intrusion, regulations and policies. However, biosecurity is a basic and fundamental requirement that anyone rearing chickens should be aware of if they want to protect their flock.
With limited biosecurity implementation – or none at all, a backyard or smallscale poultry producer is at a high risk from infectious
diseases such as Newcastle disease, salmonella, and Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI).
To prevent and avoid these infectious poultry diseases, some of which are also a threat to human health, national flock health and the economy, there is a need to implement basic biosecurity measures in small-scale backyard chicken enterprises. Biosecurity should be a regulated standard measure, implemented in all production facilities or places that rear poultry. It is the cheapest and most effective method of disease control in poultry.
What is biosecurity?
is a measure implemented in farms, mostly commercial, to prevent the introduction and persistence of infectious agents through control of traffic - both human and vehicles, proper and adequate sanitation, and isolation of flocks, particularly young chicks. Biosecurity literally means provision of safety to living things. ‘Bio’ refers to life and ‘Security’ means protection.
A year ago I was invited to a broiler farmer’s day in Polokwane. This was a day to educate and share information with smallscale farmers on broiler production, management and disease prevention. I was given the opportunity to do a presentation on biosecurity as a form of disease prevention to a broiler producer community located in Kga-matlala that was rearing and producing 5,500 birds per week, weighing between 370g and 400g at slaughter.
To demonstrate how low the biosecurity measures were in these flocks, the broiler houses were located and fenced with residential houses. There was no entrance gate for human