The meeting were held at the Sokoine University of Agriculture, Morogoro, Tanzania and were hosted by our partners, Dr. Amandus Muhairwa and Dr. Peter Msoffe. The event brought together research team members from Sokoine University of Agriculture, the University of Ghana, International Livestock Research Institute, Iowa State University, and the University of California – Davis, to share highlights and achievements over the past year and to discuss future directions of the program.
We were honored to be joined by members of our Research Advisory Committee (RAC) and partners from the Tanzania Veterinary Laboratory Agency, who provided valuable input on the program’s progress to date and planned activities to achieve our primary goal of developing a genetic selection platform to selectively breed local chicken lines with enhanced resilience to Newcastle disease virus (NDV). The RAC members also offered important insights and recommendations for improving our understanding of the epidemiology of NDV strains circulating in Ghana and Tanzania, strengthening capacity for NDV detection, developing a business plan for distribution of the improved chicken lines, and empowering women business owners and smallholder farmers along the poultry value chain in Tanzania and Ghana.
The research team and RAC members also visited the laboratories, and poultry breeding and research trial facilities, to discuss husbandry, health, and biosecurity of the breeder flocks. The visit included a tour of the renovated pens that were established for measuring egg production in hens, a trait that is being evaluated during this second phase of the program.
The meetings served as a vehicle for engaging partners, strengthening collaborations between students, research team members, and our government partners. The event also provided the opportunity to tap into the vast knowledge and expertise of our Research Advisory Committee members with the aim of working together toward our goal of improving resilience to NDV in indigenous chickens in Africa.