Dwelling on the aspect of this discussion (2) “What are the different ways that we could increase demand for eggs, other than increasing availability and reducing price? What are some examples of successful initiatives?”
The Nigerian Experience
One of the major initiatives explored by the government of Nigeria in improving the lives of the people is through the implementation of Home Grown School Feeding (HGSF) Programme which focused on providing food to school children (food based safety net programme) and this will indirectly help improve food security in the beneficiary households. The preparation of the meals will include the supply of protein rich foods like poultry products (mainly chicken and eggs). Demand for eggs will increase in this areas and other variety of food types where this programme is been implemented.
Children will benefit from a hot nutritionally balanced school meal; farmers will benefit from improved access to school feeding markets; and communities will benefit from new jobs across the supply chain such as catering, processing and food handling jobs. Besides the direct benefits, it is intended that HGSF can act as an important catalyst to drive (a) Agriculture-nutrition policies given the direct nutritional components of HGSF menus, and (b) Smallholder market participation with spill-over effects on broader public agriculture commodity procurement.
The main Objectives of HGSF programme are as follow:
1. The school enrolment and completion: The programme is aimed at improving the enrolment of primary school children in Nigeria and reduce the current dropout rate in primary school which was estimated to be 30%.
2. Child Nutrition and Health: The programme aimed at addressing the poor nutrition and health status of many children and thereby improving their overall academic performance (learning outcomes).
3. Local Agricultural Production: the programme aimed at stimulating local agricultural production and boost the income of farmers by creating a viable and ready market through the school feeding programme .
4. Creating jobs and improving family and state economy: The programme aimed at create jobs along the value chain and provide multiplier effect for economic growth and development.
HGSF programme is designed to provide minimum of one meal a day to each school pupil.
The Federal Government of Nigeria piloted the implementation of Home Grown School Feeding (HGSF) programme in 2004. The Federal Ministry of Education was the designated implementing agency for a phased-pilot rollout, beginning with 12 States and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) selected from the six geopolitical zones.
Federal Government of Nigeria in collaboration with New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD), World Food Programme (WFP), United Nations International Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and other International Development Partners, developed the Home Grown School Feeding and Health Programme (HGSFHP). The programme was launched in September, 2005. Out of the 13 States that stated the programme in 2004, it is only Osun State that is still in full implementation of the programme. The State Osun HGSFHP, now known as Osun Elementary School Feeding and Health Programme (O-MEALS) commenced as a pilot programme in May 2006. Since 2012, the state has redesigned and funded it considerably to live to the aims and objectives of this programme among other states in the country.
Implementation of O-MEALS in Osun State
The state government worked with nutritionist in the tertiary institutions within the state for menu development for the programme. Large number of food vendors were identified from all Local Government Areas (LGAs), trained and empowered to prepare the meals in conducive and hygienic environments. Food materials are sourced from local farmers associations directly by food vendors.
Phase I: April 2012 with feeding of pupils in grades 1, 2, & 3
Phase II: Extended in December 2012 to include pupils in grade 4.
Dwelling on the prevailing discussion "increase access to eggs for the world’s poorer populations, what should be the right balance between small-scale production, large-scale commercial production. what is the way forward to achieve increase in egg production for better nutrition in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA)'
Constraints to increased Egg production for Better Nutrition in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA)
Eggs are a highly nutritious food, rich in Eessential Fatty Acids, vitamins A and B12, and bioavailable iron, zinc, and iodine. The protein in the albumen is abundant, digestible, and complete, and the whole food is naturally “packaged” in a protective “container.” With a few notable exceptions, it is a acceptable that almost all human populations enjoy eating them. They are uniquely positioned to advance the second of the world's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)—to end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture (United Nations, 2015).
Consumption of eggs, however, falls far below optimal levels among mothers and children living in poorer countries especially in the Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). The level of production in this region is not adequate to provide needed nutrition for everybody especially the children and the mothers. Eggs are cheap, relatively available, and frequently consumed by young children in high-and middle-income countries. However, they are expensive, scarce, and rarely consumed by children in much of Africa and South Asia.
Major barrier to increased egg production for better nutrition in SSA include the following
(i) Low production
(iii) Nutrition, Housing and Incidence of Predation
(iv)Veterinary and intensive systems
Low Production: When considered the conventional measures of productivity commonly used in the commercial poultry sector in both aspect of egg and meat production, such as feed conversion ratios or daily weight gain, local chicken breeds are low and slow producers of eggs and meat. This contributes to their low productivity when compared with the production in the commercialized poultry production setting.
Disease: The most common cause of the high mortality rates observed in Small -Scale Poultry (SSP) flocks, particularly in tropical countries, is Newcastle disease (ND) and Avian Influenza (AI). The emergence of and response to Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI), the H5N1 strain of avian influenza caused millions of birds to be culled after emerging in Africa in 2006-2008, and many countries in Africa have lost a large proportion of their egg production industry. This placed a heavy burden on SSP producers, directly, by the virtue of increased loss of birds, and indirectly, as initial control measures resulted in massive depopulation, often with inadequate or no compensation especially in the developing nations.
Nutrition, Housing and Incidence of Predation: Inability to provide adequate nutrition and presence of environmental stress coupled with the incidence of loss of chicks to predation are other notable factors that can contribute to reduction in the production of poultry products (especially eggs) in the SSA
Veterinary and Extension Services: Smallholder poultry farmers do not or have limited access to information on the “state of health” of their birds and how to cope with clinical signs and symptoms of diseases on their farm. This includes issues of adequate biosecurity practices, which is a major concern for small-scale intensive poultry producers. Inadequate essential resources and infrastructural facilities can result in limited veterinary and extension services.
Possible way forward
Establishment of “Egg Hubs” (Beesabathuni et al., 2018; Ymeri et al., 2017)
This is an innovation in which smallholder poultry (egg) farmers are organized into groups to facilitate input supply and better reap economies of scale. In this model, groups of five smallholder farmers constitute one group and are trained to operate a small‐scale farm with 5,000 birds, thereby simplifying supply chain coordination of inputs to the farm while also ensuring minimal losses in the transport of eggs to a market closest to the community.
Each farmer group has access to credit, building materials, cages, start‐up flock and relevant materials, biosecurity measures, protective clothing, and training in best practices. Several of these farms can be managed together as a hub. The hub acts as the aggregator of inputs and provides training, insurance, and credit to the farmer groups. For countries with large rural land areas, which, as we have seen, would require more than 200 hubs to ensure an egg for everyone, creating incentives for private companies to set up the hubs is the likely accelerated pathway to scale.
Eggs are one of our best tools to help end hunger, achieve food security, and improve nutrition. In order to reap the benefits of this opportunity, it is crucial that aggressive action be taken to increase and improve their availability and affordability in SSA. This can only be done by investing heavily in production systems that can bring down prices significantly across the entire economy, rather than focusing effort on limited benefits for individual farmers.
Ymeri, P., Sahiti, F., Musliu, A., Shaqiri, F., & Pllana, M. (2017). The effect of farm size on profitability of laying poultry farms in Kosovo. Bulgarian Journal of Agricultural Science, 23, 376–380.
Beesabathuni, K., Lingala, S., & Kraemer, K. (2018). Increasing egg availability through smallholder business models in East Africa and India. Maternal & Child Nutrition, 14(Suppl 3), e12667. https://doi.org/10.1111/mcn.12667
United Nations (2015). Transforming our world: The 2030 agenda for sustainable development (General Assembly Resolution A/70/L.1). Geneva, Switzerland: United Nations.
Dwelling on the discussion on #what set of policies are necessary to address issues concerning food security and extreme poverty eradication in rural areas?
Empowering the smallholder farming households and other key factors would not be out of place in achieving this goal. About two-thirds of the developing world’s 3 billion rural people live in about 475 million small farm households, working on land plots smaller than 2 hectares. Many are poor and food insecure and have limited access to markets and services. I believe these smallholder farmers are critical stakeholders in ensuring food security in our economies owing to the fact that when they are given proper interventions and also considering other germane factors, they have the potentials of reducing if not eradicating extreme poverty in our rural areas. These suggested policy interventions include the following;
1. Proper access to nutritious food through comprehensive approaches to food and nutrition security:
Policies, programmes and investments geared towards strengthening food and nutrition security on the part of the smallholder farmers should aim at: (a) focusing on access as well as availability of foods, (b) recognizing the importance of diversified diets made up of nutritious foods, especially for pregnant smallholder farming households and young children, (c) preventing excessive food price volatility, (d) enabling poor smallholder farming households access both social protection and social services, and ensuring that the services contribute to adequate child care and feeding practices, and mother and child health care services, with sufficient access to clean water and sanitation. All forms of malnutrition – including nutrient deficiencies and obesity – should be addressed. This means dealing with the global transition to high energy and low nutrient diets and the shift away from unhealthy food consumption patterns.
2. Identifying the key role of agriculture and rural development in eliminating extreme poverty, hunger and malnutrition:
Smallholder farming households are essential and critical contributors to resolving these challenges which are most pronounced in rural areas. Adequate provision of necessary public goods and support to raise rural incomes and productive capacities, giving them the opportunity to participate actively (both in input and output markets) and benefit from national and international markets And also, in pro-poor development through investing in rural economies, both farm and nonfarm.
3. Maintaining enduring investment in agriculture and food systems:
Enduring investment can be strengthened by (a) recognizing that the main investors in agriculture are the smallholder farmers themselves, (b) engaging smallholder producers and their organizations fully in the design and implementation of national strategies for agriculture and food security, (c) ensuring their secure tenure of land and improving their access to improved technology and innovation, (d) ensuring they benefit from key public goods - market infrastructure, price stabilization instruments (for both producers and consumers), affordable financial services, and functioning extension services. This calls for a combination of public and private investment involving farmer associations, agribusinesses, government, civil society groups and sources of financing.
4. Prioritizing on food security and post harvest losses along value chains:
Virile functioning of interfaces between food and health systems will lead to reduced risks of disease, especially for food that are unsafe for human consumption. This is increasingly relevant as ecosystems change, due to climate change or human activity. Moreover, there is universal concern over post-harvest processing and handling losses and food consumption waste: they undermine the sustainability of food systems.
5. Building resilience to natural and man-made disasters: Poor rural and urban societies experience crises – such as those linked to volatile food prices or climatic shocks – with increasing frequency threatening their food and nutrition security. The sustainability and resilience of their livelihoods can be reinforced by developing a range of capacities and entrepreneurial skills, promoting non-farm rural employment and empowering smallholder farmers (producers) to diversify their on-farm and off-farm activities.
6. Ensuring agricultural food systems sustainability and climate sensitivity. As demand for food increases – as a result of population growth, urbanization, and changing dietary habits (dietary diversity), greater attention is given to the ecological footprint of agriculture and food systems. What are the options for enabling these systems to be socially, economically and environmentally sustainable, while becoming more productive and nutrition-sensitive? The dilemma is faced by all nations and issue of changes in climate, which is currently threatening agricultural production. Climate-sensitive agriculture makes growth more sustainable, while improving the management of ecosystems, including soils, forests, water, fisheries, oceans, watersheds and biodiversity.
Empowering the women smallholder farmers:
Smallholder farming households (Women) are very important in the food production and processing value chain. Equally, they are the drivers of change in ensuring nutrition and food security in the farming households. If women had the same access to productive resources as men, agricultural yields and output would increase and there would be a significant reduction in the number of impoverished people especially children. These women smallholder farmers may be empowered by enhancing their access to credit and control over land and other productive resources. Also, ensuring that women smallholder farmers are able to overcome institutional, social, and economic bottlenecks. Furthermore, Investing in the nutrition of women and their children and ensuring active participation of women in decision-making at all levels: from the household to public policy and development planning. By focusing on equity of access or opportunity, decision makers emphasize the interests of vulnerable people.