In Ethiopia people don’t care much for huge, tender, tasteless industrial style chicken. Everybody, from farmer to university researcher agreed: For good Ethiopian food you need tough and streetwise Ethiopian chicken. This poses a big challenge to the development of the commercial poultry sector: While there is a big market for eggs, farmers and extensionists alike tell us that producing broilers is just not viable because they are so difficult to sell.
Today I talked with my IFPRI colleague Clemens Breisinger about this and he asks: “Well, why don’t they develop a broiler industry that produces local chicken, if that’s what the market wants?”
I have no answer to this. And I have to admit that I had thought much more along the lines of: “How can you develop the market for international chicken in Ethiopia?” instead of asking this much more logical question. Maybe those involved in the chicken industry and agricultural development in the country have a similar bias that “innovation” always has to be the thing that comes from the countries of the developed world? Or is there another reason why it wouldn’t make sense to support the improvement of the marathon chicken segment?