The Ethiopian poultry sector is almost exclusively dominated by backyard and small-scale production using limited to no inputs in production and which is targeted for either self-consumption or the market. Unlike other parts of the world, there are relatively few intermediaries operating between producers and consumers in the Ethiopian poultry sector. However, because of increased urban development, there are newly emerging private farms responding to growing consumer demand. Indeed, rising demand for meat products has led to inflationary pressures on prices, with poultry prices increasing fivefold in nominal terms over the past decade. Nonetheless, while growing, broiler meat production remains fairly low, with most consumers favoring traditional forms of poultry over processed products.
At the same time, the economic effects of poultry diseases, such as highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI), could have markedly different impacts if we contrast commercialized settings with informal ones, given the differences in the behavior and incentives of actors that could modulate the risk of disease spread. In order to characterize the potential impacts of HPAI, we employed a value chain approach to map the various actors, identify flows of goods and services, and highlight linkages among actors, including governance and coordination components of the value chain. Particular attention is paid to the changes that occurred within the poultry sector after the HPAI scare in Ethiopia (the result of a false alarm) that affected the competitiveness of poultry production and sales along market channels to the final point of consumption. The analysis focused on three sites in Ethiopia: Modjo, Debre Zeit, and Addis Ababa which lie along major production and consumption gradients that link southern and eastern parts of the country to the capital, Addis Ababa. The study was conducted using focus group discussions (FGD) and key informant discussions in each site.