Favored by both roadside barbecue stands and upscale restaurants throughout Ghana, the nutritious and low-fat guinea fowl represents a lucrative business for smallholder farmers who want a low-maintenance livestock to raise.

The World Bank’s West Africa Agricultural Productivity Program (WAAPP) is helping guinea fowl farmers in Northern Ghana scale up operations. Its initial investment in 80 farmers has benefited more than 50,000 people.

Guinea fowl farming could create thousands of jobs and earn export revenue.

In order to build a food system to feed every African, WAAPP works with researchers, farmers and others to promote the guinea fowl industry into an engine of job creation in rural Ghana.

During the past two years, WAAPP has helped 80 guinea fowl farmers in the Northern, Upper East and Upper West regions of Ghana scale up operations.

It has also revitalized the production of a homegrown vaccine to combat Newcastle disease, a virus that is deadly to poultry.

Since 2013, more than 38 million doses of the vaccine have been released to 137,400 farmers. Moreover, the vaccine is now being exported to other West African countries, including Niger and The Gambia.

Benefited by WAAPP, participants could receive a starter kit that includes financial support, an incubator, generator, 500 eggs, dewormer, feed and vaccines.

In addition, agricultural trainers visit those farmers regularly to teach them how to care for birds so as to reduce mortality.

Moreover, the production rate of guinea fowl has been increased by more than five times due to applying incubators and techniques, such as housing birds to protect them from hawks.

With the help from WAAPP, farmers have raised their production from less than 100 birds per year to production of between 600 and 800 birds per quarter.

“Before WAAPP gave us technologies and techniques to protect our birds from predators and disease, I couldn’t make more than 100 birds a year. Now our losses are very few— this year alone we had over 800 birds so I hired people to help me,” said Gideon Anaba, a guinea fowl farmer in Boku, Ghana.

“Thanks to income from this business, I paid my children’s university bills without going in for a loan.”

Adamu Mubarik, a 34-year-old guinea fowl farmer from Garu Tempane, received a starter kit from WAAPP in 2013 and now produces up to 3,200 birds a year. He is also willing to help others on the path to success.

He incubates eggs for other farmers for as low as 20 pesewas, or US $0.05 cents, per egg and gives young people advice on how to get started as a guinea fowl farmer.

He was once a university graduate who faced the difficulty of finding a job and had no choice but to rely on his uncle in Accra for support. But because of WAAPP assistance, he’s an entrepreneur who can afford his sister’s tuition fee as well as his family.

Moreover, he can expand his business to create jobs and serve the needs of his district.

“The Bank is supporting Ghana’s guinea fowl farming because it’s ripe for expansion—it has the potential to create thousands of jobs, earn revenue by selling to the local and international market and help alleviate poverty,” said Henry Kerali, World Bank Country Director, Ghana.

Shengyu Wang

Sources: World Bank, Mother Earth News
Photo: Yakubu Family Ghana