African Journal of
Agricultural Research

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Agric. Res.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1991-637X
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJAR
  • Start Year: 2006
  • Published Articles: 6693

Full Length Research Paper

A descriptive analysis of the impact of avian influenza outbreaks on the livelihoods of poultry farmers in Nigeria

Hélder Muteia1, Adewale Oparinde2* and Garba Maina3
1Food and Agriculture Organisation, Abuja, Nigeria. 2Department of Land Economy, University of Cambridge, UK. 3Stamping Out Avian and Pandemic Influenza (STOPAI), Abuja, Nigeria.
Email: [email protected] or [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 08 June 2011
  •  Published: 26 September 2011


Few studies have investigated the livelihood impacts of avian influenza in Nigeria at a farm level. Most of these have emphasised on the estimation of direct cost of production losses with less attention on the indirect effects relating to farm coping strategies. Using a descriptive analysis, we improved on these studies with an attempt to understand the livelihood impacts of avian influenza through a sustainable livelihood framework and farmers’ coping behaviours. The livelihood impact of avian influenza varies across regions and poultry production sectors. Results of the farm survey suggest that the severity of impact on farm income is higher among the smallholders especially in the north-east geopolitical zone. The majority of the farms surveyed lost more than 50% of their monthly poultry income at the onset of the avian influenza crisis. Most severely affected group are the smallholders, particularly in sector 4 where about 21% lost between 80 to 100% of their annual poultry income. The disease outbreak also led to a significant reduction in poultry employment across the country but this is already picking up with a lower recovery rate being observed among the smallholders in sector 4 (56%) as compared to the commercial sector 2 (103%). We found that at the onset of the crisis, poultry farmers adopted a mix of responses involving asset divestment and even temporary closure but the proportion of farmers needing to adopt each coping strategy decreased with time. The findings obtained in this study are expected to inform the design and implementation of targeted avian influenza impact reduction policies in Nigeria.


Key words: Avian influenza, asset, livelihoods, poultry income, employment and coping strategies.