For decades, antibiotic growth promoters (AGPs) have been used to improve the health status and growth performance of animals. However, a significant body of evidence links the misuse of AGPs in animal production to the emergence and spread of antimicrobial resistance (AMR). As a result, most countries have either restricted or banned the use of AGPs in animal feed.
South Africa still uses AGPs – mostly in poultry (broiler) production; however, consumers are increasingly demanding antibiotic-free poultry products. Poultry producers thus need to minimise AGP use and adopt alternatives. In this context, plant-based substances show great potential as AGP replacers.
Among the plants that have been investigated, Moringa oleifera has shown promise. Research has confirmed that moringa can improve poultry growth performance, health, and the quality of meat. However, little is known about the prevailing perceptions of using moringa in poultry production.
This study will use a mixed-methods research approach to uncover the knowledge, practices, and perceptions of moringa producers and stakeholders in the poultry sector in relation to the use of moringa as an additive. This will help document the reasons for the low uptake of moringa in the poultry industry and inform South African policymakers on interventions to increase awareness and use of this plant. Awareness of the potential of moringa as an AGP replacer will contribute towards antibiotic-free poultry production and, to some extent, address concerns regarding AMR. Ultimately, this will contribute to good health and well-being (SDG 3).