Chicken Hatchery Revives Struggling Poultry Industry in Northeast Syria

Speeches Shim

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Every morning, Nawaf Anwar* goes out to care for the chickens he raises on his poultry farm in Syria’s Hasakah governorate. Since starting the farm in 2007, his routine has centered around providing the chickens with their daily needs.  

Yet, while Nawaf’s routine has stayed the same, almost everything around him has changed since 2011, which is when the Syrian conflict began and spread across the country. People fled their homes as buildings and critical infrastructure were destroyed. Many farms stopped operating and once thriving markets disappeared as people sought safety elsewhere. 

“[Early on], things were great,” Nawaf said, discussing his farm. Everything we needed was available—water, fuel, and electricity. But then, even basic elements of farming were hard to get.”

Nawaf Anwar’s farm in Hasakah governorate.
Nawaf Anwar's farm in Hasakah governorate.
Credit: USAID

By the time fighting had largely subsided in northeast Syria, more than half of Hasakah’s 350 poultry farms had closed. Nawaf and others who remained struggled to cope with the rising cost of doing business.

The cost of all of the inputs and equipment farmers relied on, including chicken feeders and generators, had increased beyond what most could afford. Unable to source chicks locally, farmers had to import them at a higher rate, cutting into already low profits. 

Working with the community and local authorities, USAID identified the major hurdles to rebuilding the poultry value chain in Hasakah—the need for equipment and the high cost of farm inputs like chicks. Together, they designed activities to help boost the poultry value chain’s productivity and rebuild it—from farm to market.

To address farmers’ equipment and farming supply needs, USAID provided key materials, including feeders, water tanks, exhaust fans, thermometers, and generators, to 27 registered poultry farms throughout the governorate. But without chickens to raise, a poultry farm is just a farm, so the team worked with local authorities to establish an egg incubation center to grow and hatch chicks locally. 

USAID helped the Hasakah Directorate of Agriculture and Animal Welfare convert an unused warehouse in Hasakah into an incubation center for broiler chicks, which are bred for meat. Refurbished with new floors, windows, doors, and electrical work, the center houses six new incubators—each capable of incubating 17,000 eggs at a time. This will allow the center to produce approximately 1.7 million chicks annually and will meet about 25 percent of the local chicken meat demand. 

Workers in the Directorate of Agriculture and Animal Welfare in Hasakah sort through newly hatched chicks.
Workers in the Directorate of Agriculture and Animal Welfare in Hasakah sort through newly hatched chicks.
Credit: USAID

“Establishing this incubation center was much needed and it is now the only one of its kind in the area,” said the co-head of the Hasakah Directorate of Agriculture and Animal Welfare. “These chicks will be sold to poultry farmers at low prices, which will positively affect the prices of broiler chickens in local markets.”

Nawaf has already received a delivery of chicks from the egg incubation center. 

“It’s helping to lower the cost of production and increase self-sufficiency,” he explained. 

According to the area’s Economic Commission, after only a month of the incubation center being in operation, the price of wholesale broiler chickens in local markets has dropped. This is especially notable, as most other prices of market goods have been increasing in northeast Syria.

The reduced price of broiler chickens is attributed to the increase of locally available chicks from the incubation center and the more efficient, rehabilitated poultry farms raising the chickens. As more chick deliveries are made, farmers expect their profit margins to increase, and the Economic Commission expects the price of broiler chickens to decrease further, strengthening the local economy and food security in the region.

*The name has been changed.

Last updated: November 09, 2021

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