The prolonged drought this dry season has affected the productivity of poultry farmers in East Java, with a decline recorded in the quality and quantity of chicken eggs over the last few months.
National Breeders Association (PPRN) chairman Rofi Yasifun said that the severe drought due to climate change had caused a 30 percent decline in Blitar's chicken egg production.
“Because of the high temperature during this extended drought, chickens eat more and drink less. Consequently, their eggs have shrunk in size,” Rofi said on Nov. 26, on the sidelines of the launch of a chicken cage specially designed to withstand the effects of climate change.
The event was held by the USAID Climate Change Adaption and Resilience program (USAID-APIK) and PT Cargill Indonesia, the local unit of the United States commodities giant, as part of the program's Climate Field Adaptation project that aims to improve business resilience among chicken farmers in Blitar amid climate change.
Blitar accounts for 50 percent of East Java's chicken egg production, with 18 million chickens producing 155,802 tons of eggs in 2018. East Java contributes 30 percent to national egg production.
“The hot weather takes a toll on the health of chickens,” Rofi added, and also increased their mortality rate.
This was where the newly launched chicken cages came in, which had been designed so that chickens could develop a level of resistance to hot weather, said USAID-APIK chief of party Paul Jeffrey.
The special cages had proved superior to conventional cages, Jeffrey explained, as they were equipped with a feature that could lower the interior temperature through an air circulation system.
“Poultry farmers must learn to anticipate the effects of climate change, which will continue for at least another 20 years,” he added.
Jeffrey said that climate change would extend the dry season while leading to a shorter but more intense wet season in Indonesia in the next 20 years. Chicken farmers should also be ready for natural disasters like landslides and floods that could potentially harm their livelihood, he said.
Blitar's poultry farmers have taken to the streets earlier this year to voice their concerns over the constantly fluctuating market price of chicken eggs.