Veterinary experts under the sponsorship of Azhili Progressive Club, Wakama in Akun Development Area of Nasarawa State, have begun mass vaccination campaign against Newcastle disease and empowerment of widows in the area.
The club, which has many veterinary doctors and other professionals in its membership, has been empowering widows with 5-weeks-old Noiler birds.
This vaccination campaign was organised to prevent loss of chickens, which were distributed to the women.
The Noiler birds are a breed of chicken developed by Amo Farm Sieberer Hatchery in Lagos for smallholder farmers, especially women among the rural communities. It is a dual-purpose bird, which has all the characteristics of a native chicken, with benefits of faster growth, less fat, good meat and eggs.
Speaking at the flag-off ceremony at Agwan Sabo in Akun Development Area, president of the club Dr Samuel Anzaku, said the Newcastle disease is one of the most destructive as it kills and reduces the population of local chicken in many communities across the country.
"While large numbers of commercial poultry are vaccinated against NCD (Newcastle Disease), the local chicken owned by the peasant farmers are not usually vaccinated due to a number of factors ranging from lack of awareness, erroneous beliefs and poverty thus making them a reservoir of the virus through which outbreaks occur from time to time," Dr Anzaku said.
Reacting to the gesture, the traditional ruler of Akun Development Area (Aren Akun), Alhaji Usman G. Umbugadu I, and the overseer of the development area, Emma Yaro, expressed gratitude to the Progressive Club for supporting widows and youths to start up sustainable poultry business.
He particularly appealed to the club to expand its initiatives to other communities and areas of livestock.