Exciting Progress at the International Egg Commission Global Leadership Conference
Sight and Life, a CIFF grantee, is conducting scoping work to scale up production and consumption of eggs and egg powder in Bangladesh and Ethiopia. The work explores different social business models, consumer demand for eggs, as well as bio-safety practices. Kalpana Beesabathuni from Sight and Life talks about her experience at the International Egg Commission Global Leadership Conference (IEC) this September in Kyoto, Japan.
Eggs hold great potential for improving maternal and child nutrition in low and middle-income countries. Eggs offer a holistic package of nutrients and are a rich source of essential fatty acids, highly digestible protein, choline, vitamins A and B12 and bioavailable iron, zinc, and iodine, primarily the nutrients in which poor and at-risk populations are known to be deficient.
Even though eggs are an affordable source of high-quality protein and micronutrients, they are infrequently consumed by women and children in much of Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, the regions with the highest burden of malnutrition. For those of us working on improving egg production and consumption in low and middle-income countries, the IEC conference can act as a one-stop knowledge hub, providing us with new ideas, resources and networks to pursue.
Picture (left to right): Tim Lambert (IEC Chairman); Prof. Fekadu Beyene Aleka (State Minister of Agriculture and Livestock Resources, Ethiopia); Orlando Peruzzo (IEC International Ambassador); Julian Madeley (CEO, World Egg Organisation)
At the conference this September, I had the privilege of participating in events together with Ethiopia’s State Minister of Agriculture and Livestock Resources, Prof. Fekadu Beyene Aleka. There were experts from across the world covering the entire egg value chain spectrum, from producers and input suppliers to retailers. Egg farmers from various countries shared their country’s progress, and we met with entrepreneurs and scientists to explore practical options to catalyse poultry growth in Ethiopia.
The IEC also convenes task forces for specialists to address issues facing the egg industry, such as bird flu outbreaks and indiscriminate use of antibiotics, in collaboration with international public and animal health organisations. Other key themes from the conference included improving farm efficiency while promoting best flock health management practices and introducing sustainable production methods through feed innovation. It was fascinating to learn about technologies on egg processing for increasing its shelf life and transportability, thus dramatically decreasing egg waste and loss.
Prof. Fekadu Beyene Aleka summarised, “currently, the agricultural industry in Ethiopia is in a period of transformation, and eggs may offer a low-cost, high return solution as a source of quality protein to solve problems of food security and undernutrition among women and children. Conferences such as the IEC provide core opportunities for leaders and experts in the field to come together, discuss the latest trends, see new research outcomes and opportunities and hear stories of success."