Poultry meat and egg production is a common enterprise in most peri-urban and rural communities around the highlands of Papua New Guinea (PNG). However egg production through the raising of layer chickens is not that popular compared to broiler meat production. Raising chickens on commercial stock feed can be expensive mainly because of the rising cost of imported raw materials used in feed formulation, coupled with freight costs and retail mark-ups. Clearly the use of cheaper alternatives is imminent to reduce inputs and improve farm profitability.
Under the project, livestock scientists from NARI based in the highlands regional center (HRC) in Tambul were able to carry out on-farm demonstration trials using cheaper feeding alternatives that incorporate local resources with selected poultry farmers in two project sites; Alkena and Kiripia in the Tambul/Nebilyer district, Western Highlands. These on-farm demonstrations were focused on feeding chickens with sweet potato and blended with a NARI broiler/layer concentrate. These technologies have been tested and proven to have improved farm profitability of village broiler and layer enterprises by at least 25-30% and 7-8% respectively when sweet potato is grown by farmers themselves.
Some farmers were able to continue using these feed technologies, after observation trials were concluded, however the continuous supply of concentrates after the project life still remains a challenge for the project.