Mr. Nouhoum Traore

The Innovation:

Food insecurity threatens many rural villages in Mali, especially during the rainy season. Erratic weather, poor harvests, and atypical livestock deaths are just a few factors to blame. Farmers across the country continually test methods, such as crop diversification, to improve their food security and lessen the impact of unpredictable circumstances. Recently, farmers have found success in intensifying their guinea fowl production. However, traditional poultry management is not suitable for this intensified production and modern incubation techniques can be expensive and hard to sustain.

Nouhoum Traore, a creative young farmer, was given the opportunity to use a wooden incubator provided by a local NGO (which could hold about 140-150 eggs). Motivated by the high demand for guinea fowl eggs, Traore used this experience to come up with a new solution: using locally available, inexpensive materials and an easy-to-assemble design, he built a clay incubator that can hold 400 – 500 eggs at one time. Traore has openly shared his design and its assembly with other farmers, initially training four farmers in his village and helping to build incubators in surrounding villages. Now, around 50 farmers from 30 different villages across Mali have built similar incubators. 

UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)International Network for Family Poultry Development (INFPD), and International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) recognized the ingenuity of Traore’s incubator. They designated it as “Good Practices of Family Poultry Production (GPFPP)” and documented the technique. Read their write-up to learn more about Traore’s innovation here.

The Impact:

Traore’s innovation has improved food security across Mali. This egg incubation technique is a climate adaptive practice that builds food security regardless of irregular weather patterns. It has helped him and other farmers diversify their production and tap into a new market. High demand and high price for guinea fowl and their eggs ensure increased income for farmers. Therefore, many have incorporated intensified production into their farming model. This diversification also helps mitigate the negative consequences of poor harvests. Additionally, guinea fowl–a high protein, nutrient dense food–has become much more common in the diets of Mali’s farmers, improving their nutrient intake.