Thank you for the opportunity to co-facilitate this discussion and for your thoughtful contributions to date. Your comments have been great to read through.
Many of you have raised the issue of education, not only on the benefits of eggs, but also in the area of food skills. Although, as Dr. Hélène Delisle points out, scientific evidence has now proven that eggs do not increase the risk for CVD, there remains an important opportunity to educate governments, health professionals and consumers in this area, and to highlight the many nutritional benefits and high quality protein of eggs.
The examples given by Rabiu Auwalu Yakasai of the FEED program and the stories shared by Teopista Mutesi of the FAO poultry project illustrate the powerful impact that skills development and knowledge transfer can have on improving nutritional status. Please continue to share your success stories and lessons learned towards similar projects.
The International Egg Foundation, in partnership with local communities, seeks to increase both egg production and consumption. One example is the work with Heart for Africa, where a newly-constructed egg farm in Swaziland is adding a sustainable source of protein to more than 888,000 meals per year. In Uganda, a local contact works with children to develop the skills to care for hens and later build the skills to manage a small business. The project provides families with a sustainable source of protein and the opportunity to expand their efforts.
Much like these projects there is an opportunity to share knowledge and evident-based research to strengthen farming practices. For example, in Canada, Codes of Practice and nationally developed guidelines serve the foundation for ensuring hens are cared for using practices that promote animal health and welfare. There are also a number of well documented research studies that discuss a host of welfare factors in egg production. Forum participants may like to refer to the Wageningen University and Research Institute’s LayWel study, or the Coalition for Sustainable Egg Supply study that analysed animal health and well-being, food safety and quality, environment, worker health and safety, and food affordability.
On the topic of sustainable egg production, researchers in both Europe and North America are helping producers make sustainability improvements. These studies offer important information that reduce the environmental footprint of egg production, while producing more eggs with fewer resources. These tools deliver practical and impactful opportunities to tackle environmental challenges. While these results are positive, there remains an important opportunity to share these insights more widely. I am very interested in your thoughts on new areas to explore when it comes to sustainable egg production.
I look forward to reading through more contributions highlighting ongoing projects, successes and challenges with making eggs more accessible. Thank you again for your thoughts.