What it is: YAIKUULA target-market is Sahelian countries, where guinea fowl meat and eggs are highly prized. Guinea fowl in captivity are poor broody hens. Hatching is achieved with surrogate chicken hens that are synchronized to produce many keets at once. YAIKUULA is a smaller version of the EVAKUULA evaporative cooler component that maintains fertile egg viability for longer periods in Saheian belt weather conditions.
The problem it solves: About 90% of the population in Burkina Faso engage in subsistence (smallholder) farming. One consequence of this fragility is stunting of children, an encompassing measure of chronic undernutrition. Increase in animal-source foods consumption has been identified as a viable solution. Increasing the scale of poultry farming among the rural poor, coupled with education to incorporate eggs and poultry meat in household diets and especially for children and their mothers, can be a potent solution to the endemic stunting problem. However, before this happens, order of magnitude increase in Guinea fowl production has to be realized. Our first attempt to address the “broody hen” problem was to design a solar-powered incubator that could be locally manufactured. The locally made solar energy-powered incubator achieved outstanding hatchability rates (average of 85%). Its major limitation was that during the warm season, where room temperatures rise above 25 oC (77 oF), the incubator is inoperable–it controls the incubation temperature with an on/off mechanism. To operate at such high ambient temperatures, a source of cold air was needed. This would have added to the initial capital cost, pushing the complete system further out of reach for the target farmers. In establishing this practice, in the hands of farmers, we also observed the egg storage problem that was yielding unacceptable hatchability rates. While waiting to fully load the incubators (capacity of 90 guinea fowl eggs), farmers would store their eggs at room temperature. With high temperatures in Burkina Faso, the eggs in waiting would undergo premature embryo development, yielding “early mortality” embryos in unhatched eggs at the end of the incubation. We are now expanding guinea fowl farming among smallholder households. We are combining three established practices of: 1) All year-round feeding of birds supplemented with fly larvae (or WANDAMIX) for increased productivity; 2) Synchronized hatching of guinea fowl eggs by chicken (Rakai Chicken Model, tested in Uganda), to produce many keets at once, yielding lower cost keets, among other advantages; and 3) Low-cost evaporative cooling egg storage, with YAIKUULA, while waiting for enough eggs to accumulate, for increased fertile egg viability.
The delivery business model and impact: In Burkina Faso, we have found that it is best to have a network of hatcheries households implementing the Rakai model with the use of YAIKUULA. These hatcheries supply two-week old keets to the general guinea fowl farmer households within a given territory. The hatcheries households buy the YAIKUULA from an artisan trained by Thermogenn to fabricate the device. The guinea fowl farmer households produce their own fly larvae using poultry/piggery substrate and feed the larva directly to the guinea fowl. The development work is in progress with ASUDEC, 3p-Innovations partner in Burkina Faso. The projected outcome of this project is to increase guinea fowl production per year by an order of magnitude, to approximately 50 marketable birds per guinea fowl hen. The integration of the three practices has been completed at ASUDEC facility. Scaling to approximately 20 farmers to realize the projected impact is in progress. ASUDEC’s microfinance institution (MECRA) is ready to provide financing to both the hatcheries and the general guinea fowl farmer households.