A Teaching Assistant at the Department of Animal Science of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology has created an incubator for hatching chicks at an affordable price.
Speaking in an interview Luv FM’s Kwasi Debrah, David Wakpal, said, “ this is a 600 capacity fully automated incubator. Later I tested at the Olympio hatchery, KNUST and it had good hatching percentage.”
“It has a hatching percentage of over 80 percent,” he added.
The Agricultural Biotechnology graduate had been researching into affordable ways of producing incubators since second year in the university.
“It all started when I was seriously in need of an incubator for my turkey farm. The only way I could get one was to import or buy from an importer and it was expensive,” he said.
Mr. Wakpal explained “I later realised that this wasn’t a problem I alone faced, a lot of farmers were in need of it too. I concentrated on it so much sometimes I had to miss lectures,” he added.
It was not until his final year in school did he build his first fully automated incubator in his room.
Mr. Wakpal now produces affordable and equally efficient incubators comparable to foreign brandsImage caption: Mr. David Wakpal
He revealed, “Price is less than half the imported one. This can be serviced in Ghana because it was built by us and again adapted to our climate.”
Mr. Wakpal added, the incubator has an automatic temperature and humidity control, automatic egg turning system, automatic ventilation, over limit protection controls and warning alarm system.”
For a bonus, he has placed rollers beneath the main compartment so farmers will have no difficulty moving it around.
“I believe with this the importation of incubators will be reduced and farmers, especially in the Northern Region who use broody hens to hatch guinea fowl, can get access to quality but cheap fully automated incubators in the country,” he was hopeful.
Global Agricultural Information Network estimates Ghana’s 2017 total domestic supply of broiler meat was less than 25 percent at 35,000 tons.
This is in spite of increasing demand while imports increased by 14,000 tons to reach 158,000 tons in that year.
U.S. poultry meat exports to Ghana holds over 35 percent market share.
Competition from Brazil and the European Union has been increasing.
The huge amount of chicken importation could be attributed to a lower consumption rate.
It is in relation to demand as a result of the high cost of poultry feed, inadequate processing, and inefficient feed management.
“Now it has shot up to 200,000 metric tons,” Said Dr. Jacob Alhassan Hamidu, Senior Lecturer at the Department of Animal Science at KNUST.
Apart from these factors, supply of quality day-old chicks is crucial for increased poultry production.
Access to the day-old chicks with low disease risk has been difficult.
“As at 2016 a total 5 million day-old chicks were imported into Ghana and about 2 million were produced in Ghana and currently we are doing 10 million or more.
“The main problem is chick quality: Farmers feel the kind of chicks they receive from the local hatchery are of bad quality,” he said.
This is where good quality incubators come in but they are mostly imported and expensive.