EthioChicken launched its first breeder farm, feed mill and hatchery in 2010. In 2014, after several years of research and development, the company introduced the SASSO T451 breed to Ethiopia. The SASSO T451 is a dual-purpose (eggs and meat), hardy, free-range, scavenging chicken which thrives among rural smallholder farmers. EthioChicken has grown rapidly into a nationwide company, employing over 1,600 Ethiopians and distributing more than 20 million birds each year to 4.8 million smallholders. The company also has two feed mills producing top quality feed and supplies commercial farmers with layer-type chickens for egg production.

Investment Thesis

EthioChicken’s innovative approach to poultry production and distribution reaches individuals at every level of the value-chain. Access to high-quality, affordable sources of protein continues to be a challenge for many Ethiopians. The SASSO T451 breed produces four times as many eggs as the habesha (local) chicken and grows three times faster, providing a higher quality, larger meat source. The gap in supply and demand has made the product expensive, creating an investment opportunity in the sector to produce affordable, accessible poultry and poultry products that serve a growing market. EthioChicken’s model, in which agents sell young chickens directly to smallholder farmers, provides customers with high-quality protein as well as an income generating opportunity.
Investing in EthioChicken will further help the company develop a healthy business relationship between the host and refugee communities through value-chain enhancement, awareness raising and market linkages. They also seek to improve delivery, health safety and capacity to warmer areas, such as Jijiga, with a fleet of modern climate-controlled transport vehicles.

Refugee Impact

Social impact is built in the company’s business model with a stated purpose of “Making Farmers Healthier and Wealthier.” Their mission is to “bring healthy and affordable eggs and meat to every Ethiopian family and, in doing so, improve nutrition, enhance rural farmer livelihoods and create income opportunities for our customers and partners.” In addition to their agent-empowerment model, the company outsources transportation to local mini-bus operators and collectives, further providing income generating opportunities to the local communities in which they operate.
Furthermore, EthioChicken has partnered with DAI SHARPE to expand their value chain into refugee camps. Currently, they have 35 mother units serving refugee populations in Jijiga and 11 in Gambela. They are eager to further expand this business model to the IDP populations in Adama, where they are currently working with the host-community. There is still significant opportunity to further expand these services to refugee and IDP settlements country-wide through their expansion plans, as well as providing training for local communities on the advantages of the chicken breed. The collaborative nature of their model is ideal for host-refugee engagement. EthioChicken also works with IGOs to enhance their technical assistance and training for agents and smallholder farmers on proper care.


  • Dr. Justin Benade, Ethiopia Managing Director
  • Joseph Chivinge, Finance Director
  • Dr. Fseha Tesfu, Export and Marketing Director

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