Originally published on October 14, 2014.
The Rural Enterprise for Alleviating Poverty (REAP II) project has been working to reduce rural poverty through improved productivity of the aquaculture, horticulture and livestock sub-sectors in Bangladesh. Funded by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) through Food for Progress, the program is supporting smallholder farmers, including marginalized women and men, to help increase their food production at the household level and improve practices. Under the leadership of Winrock International, Land O'Lakes is working with cooperatives, producer groups and processors to enable them to apply improved food quality standards and business management practices. The project uses a demonstration approach to facilitate rapid dissemination and adoption of technologies.
REAP II clients display their homemade clay egg hatching trays.
Thirty-two farmers demonstrated hatching eggs on a clay hatching tray in Baruihati village, Khulna division. The apparatus, commonly known as an egg setter, is made from readily available material and also is environmentally friendly. These attributes provide significant advantages over traditional egg setters, which consist of paper carton, paper crafts, or wooden or bamboo baskets and are often difficult to find. Furthermore, traditional egg setters are expensive for farmers, costing at least $2 apiece, are inefficient due to a low hatching rate, require a physical support structure to prevent the egg from falling to the ground, and do not allow for the provision of food or water while the chickens are brooding. In order to overcome these problems, the REAP II project introduced the clay hatching tray.
Aside from economic and environmental benefits, the clay hatching tray can be made by the women of poultry-keeping households. The tray helps to increase the rate of hatching eggs, keeps mother and chicks healthy, and helps to increase farmers' income. Using the traditional method, a chicken in poultry keeping households laid eggs three times a year. With the use of the improved egg setter and better management of chicks, egg laying and hatching has increased to five times in a year. Farmers are now using two to three egg setters per household, up from a single unit per household.
REAP II is a three-year project, which plans to reach an estimated 72,000 people in four impoverished districts of Bangladesh.