How university student hatched the idea of an automated egg incubator

Olivier Bisangwa Shimwa, a-25-year old who hails from Gasabo District, Kimironko sector   is the brains behind a smart solar and grid-run portable poultry eggs incubator, which, if harnessed, could facilitate poultry mass production.

Incubators are used for artificially hatching eggs when you don’t have any hens to keep the eggs warm. An incubator recreates the conditions that are needed to hatch eggs such as warmth, humidity, and ventilation.

“I designed a smart egg incubator. A preprogramed digital machine dedicated to incubate and hatch eggs into chicken in 21 days. Our smart egg incubators are remotely monitored though the phone or the internet,”Bisangwa said.

Bisangwa’s incubators have a 92 per cent successful hatch rate.

He spent 3 years in RP/IPRC Kigali where he hatched his idea, before finally rolling out a finished product mid-2016.

How the project started

Eggs Incubator Hatchery.

Bisangwa told RYAF Communication Team that after reading multiple reports on Rwanda’s agricultural production, specifically in the poultry sector, the country was heavily relying on imported eggs and chicks for its poultry needs. Bisangwa’s findings were that 70 per cent of chicks and eggs were being imported.

This challenged him to do something to bridge this gap. “My primary objective is to back ‘Made-in-Rwanda’ policy by contributing to the country’s economic growth in general and help reduce trade balance, in particular, as well as create jobs,” he said. “I took time and analyzed the sectors that contribute to the country’s economy the most”.

“The majority of population relies on agriculture and livestock”, he said. “They don’t produce enough for the local market. That is when Incubator project came to my mind.’’

With more and more people in the country picking interest in poultry farming, Bisangwa believes that his smart incubator project will make things easier for them by getting low cost mass production of chicks to satisfy the local market and exports.

In addition to other challenges, most of the incubators imported are expensive.

Specifically, an incubator from India or China costs $400,000 to get to the Rwandan market. “And even those who could afford it struggled to get them repaired whenever they encountered a technical issue, because there were no locally available technicians,” he said.

Bisangwa also contributes to the value chain. He says that 87 per cent of the raw materials that he uses are locally available while 10 per cent is from the EAC market and the rest from other African countries.

Way forward

In one year of operation, he has realized that his business is profitable because of the high demand for his products, which has prompted him to change his business strategy.

“I’m planning to get my project registered as a company to start mass production for expanded market,” he said. ‘‘As soon as I start operating as a company, I will produce 30 incubators per week. I also have a plan to create jobs for 50 people, who will be holding different positions in the company and or working in cooperatives that operate as subsidiary of the company, in three years’ time.

From RYAF Communication Team

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