The Save The Chicken app is providing a digital solution to the very analogue chicken mortalities happening in Africa.
Early one morning in 2019, a young small scale poultry farmer from rural Cameroon walked into his farm to discover that 440 of his chickens were dead. This is not an unusual story. Many poultry farmers in Africa who raise chickens to care for their families go through this devastating horror on a daily basis.
Global population growth is driving up a demand for protein, which puts poultry farmers under pressure to increase production. However, disease outbreaks still devastate the economies of millions of farmers worldwide – especially in Sub-Saharan Africa where, on average, one in every seven chicken dies before maturity.
In rural communities, small flock owners are mostly women and youth. Contaminated poultry causes widespread economic hardship, huge losses worldwide and can affect humans if eaten.
This pushed livestock farming expert and award-winning entrepreneur Henry Ngale Foretia, the CEO of Poultry Farmers Management Systems, to come up with an app to prevent hundreds of thousands of chicken mortalities in poultry farms. He was spurred on by his beloved mother: “She said, ’Son, I know you are smart and I want you to know that you will someday be part of the change our planet needs.’ She gave me her little savings and told me to go and succeed.”
The Save The Chicken app works as a sort of instant laboratory, allowing farmers to identify diseases and act fast – by performing instant diagnosis on a smartphone. All that a farmer has to do is to take a photo of an infected chicken. The app then scans, screens and performs analysis (using previously installed data) to provide a result and advise on any immediate medication. It has the capacity of performing over 200 scans at the same time.
It does this through a combination of AI, big data captured from various locations, analytics and predictive models that function in real-time. Henry developed this solution by collaborating with various stakeholders and the tech savvy.
Today, Henry’s team helps farmers monitor and manage their poultry, finances, provides access to the market for their products and access to finance to scale their operations – with a network of more than 2,500 farmers in their database. With all the data accumulated, the app provides real-time predictions on the locations and timing of disease outbreaks to help flock owners prevent possible mortalities and quarantining.
Farmers can also consult a veterinarian at any time and receive updates on best practices. Before now, the approach was for a vet to visit flock owners’ farms to perform diagnosis and prescription. In doing so, a sample specimen had to be collected from the poultry and taken to a laboratory with the aid of an expensive ELISA Kit. This was laborious, expensive and time-consuming. “Our approach is excellent, simple, fast and cheap,” Henry adds, “which makes us unique and disruptive as flock owners use their phones to perform diagnosis, receive results and get friendly treatment advice instantly.”
With agriculture as the backbone of every country, Henry asserts that farmers should embrace this app because it helps them to discover the condition of their birds and also how to increase production. However, Henry still believes there are still factors limiting them. “Despite the enormous successes, we still have great challenges deploying our services to rural communities where there’s no Internet or a poor network.”
AtlasAction: With a vision to fight food security, hunger and malnutrition, Henry calls on every company to Save the chicken! Download the app here.
Henry Ngale Foretia, Co-Founder/CEO