Incubator units, viewed to hasten egg hatching rates and boost the poultry industry in Western Visayas, were distributed to farmers’ associations through the Department of Agriculture’s Special Area for Agricultural Development (SAAD) program.

Under Phase 2 of the program, a total of seven units of incubators were released to the farmers’ organizations in the provinces of Aklan, Iloilo, and Negros Occidental.

One unit of incubator worth P74,500 was given to the Kaunlaran sa Sitio Can-awi Farmers’ Association in Moises Padilla, Negros Occidental under the 2023 target Duck Raising Production Project, which was later converted to native chicken production due to the banning of dispersal of ducks in the region.

Further, Hacienda Agho Camandag Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries and Mandayao Gomez Farmers’ Association in La Castellana also got an incubator. 

The organizations earlier received native chicken production projects.

The Tapian Farmers’ Association (TAFA) in Batad and Tubod Farmers’ Association in Bingawan, Iloilo also received one unit each, including the Bagong Bayan Vegetable and Livestock Association in Buruanga, Aklan.

Each unit can accommodate 240 eggs in one incubation period of 19-20 days, as it has a 240 egg setter and 230 egg hatcher minimum capacity.

The incubator units also provide precise control over humidity, temperature, and ventilation, thereby creating an ideal environment for eggs.

In a statement, the DA  revealed that these factors are relatively crucial in determining and inducing the success of each hatch as the unit will serve as a “surrogate parent” replicating the temperature and humidity, though artificial, given off by a broody hen.

Aside from those features, the incubator also includes an automatic egg turner, with a digital temperature and humidity monitor, a large viewing window, a waterproof cover for easy sanitation, and an incubator door security lock.

The provision of incubators will provide a support environment for startup groups venturing in native chicken production and enterprise.

Julie Villaflores, president of TAFA, has expressed gratitude for the said intervention as they expect an increase of their stocks by up to 75 percent, given that they have prior experience and knowledge of how to maneuver the said equipment.

Negros Occidental area coordinator Jezer John Chispa, likewise expressed his confidence to the groups, whether they are seasoned breeders or just starting in the poultry industry, that they can utilize the unit to its utmost potential and could expand operations until they reach the enterprise phase.

By 2024, the program aims to provide the groups with generator sets as backup power sources to counter the risk of unreliable power supply in the grid which can constrain their venture. 

Specialized training on proper handling and calibration of incubator units is also targeted this year to equip the beneficiaries with sufficient skills in mechanical operation.AAL/AGP/PIA 6