- Title: Burkina Faso markets local 'Bicycle Chicken' to peckish poultry consumers
- Date: 26th August 2021
- Summary: COMPUTER SCREEN SHOWS WORD DOCUMENT WITH MINISTRY LETTERHEAD
- Embargoed: 9th September 2021 12:12
- Keywords: africa bicycles burkina faso chickens food poultry
- Location: BOBO DIOULASSO AND OUAGADOUGOU, BURKINA FASO
- City: BOBO DIOULASSO AND OUAGADOUGOU, BURKINA FASO
- Country: Burkina Faso
- Topics: Africa,Human-Led Quirky,Human-Led Stories
- Reuters ID: LVA002ERX1C2F
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Conventional wisdom may say that 'everything tastes like chicken', but poultry consumers in one West African country beg to disagree.
The birds from the Sahelian nation of Burkina Faso, its citizens say, are in a league of their own and deserve to be recognized as such,
That's why their government has embarked on a mission to properly label and brand 'Bicycle Chicken' - a locally-reared species of fowl traditionally delivered on the backs of bicycles and motorbikes, that the Burkinabe people say is rich with unique flavors and health benefits.
"The local chicken is very good. We meet with friends and eat. It's very good, very natural. It really allows us to get together. It's excellent compared to other chickens. When it's natural, we can eat without it being harmful to our health," said Kader Ouedraogo, after enjoying a plate of grilled â€˜Bicycle Chickenâ€™ in a park with several of his friends.
Vendors like Idrissa Kindo agree regarding the qualities consumers say the local breed contains.
"â€™Bicycle Chickensâ€™ are 8-months-old before being consumed, while broilers (GMO chickens) are at most 40 days old. There is not too much fat in the local chickens, but the broilers, because they are fed with feed, if you kill them there is too much fat that can make you sick, that's why it's not the same thing,"
Business is booming. Across the country's two largest cities, Ouagadougou and Bobo Dioulasso, approximately 130,000 chickens are delivered each day to wholesalers, restaurants and individual customers, according to figures from the Ministry of Animal Resources.
For those who earn a living from â€˜Bicycle Chickenâ€™, the labeling scheme is a dream come true.
Often forced to sell at lower prices to compete with imported birds, the city's cooks and bike riders struggle to produce enough product to make up for the price deficit while also satisfying stratospheric demand.
Yaya Bougouma owns a restaurant from which he and his employees grill and roast hundreds of chickens a day. He hopes that the labeling scheme will validate Bicycle Chicken's superior quality and secure its place at the top of the market.
"This is my main job. My family and I make a living out of it. I also employ 25 people and they all live from this," Bougouma said.
By turning 'Bicycle Chicken' into an officially-labeled brand, officials in Burkina Faso hope to help the industry develop even more.
"We are in the process of branding. It is not yet completely done because it takes time. It is a set of activities, of meetings as well, at the level of the services of the State, as well as at the level of the processors of the â€˜Bicycle Chickenâ€™, and even the breeders. So we are in the process of meeting with all of them so that afterwards we officially recognize that our local chicken is called 'Bicycle Chickenâ€™,â€ said Issa Sawadogo, the ministry's Animal Production Director.
But it's those who enjoy a good roasted chicken wing who are most excited for â€˜Bicycle Chickenâ€™ to get the recognition they say it has long deserved.
"If the â€˜Bicycle Chicken' is labeled today, it would be a very good thing for everyone. For us who eat it, the consumers, and the national economy as a whole," said â€˜Bicycle Chickenâ€™ consumer Issouf Balima.
"To enhance the value of Bicycle Chicken, we will define together the standards of production and processing, because we can not enhance without providing a minimum standard of know-how. So the ministry will remain available to continue the supervision, in order to improve the production, and also the techniques of transformation," Issa Sawadogo continued.
A fully-grown â€˜Bicycle Chickenâ€™ is sold for between 6-8 US dollars based on its size, while a barbecued bird will go for around 8 US dollars.
(Production: Thiam Ndiaga, Media Coulibaly, Cooper Inveen)
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