Friday, March 14, 2008

One-Egg-Per-Child Program in Uganda

image The Poultry Association of Uganda (PAU) has proposed the government of Uganda to introduce One-Egg-Per-Child (OEPC)program in all the primary schools in order to increase child nutrition and reduce child poverty caused by undernutrition or malnutrition. The other rationale for this program is to stimulate local rural economy, which depends on small-scale production (agriculture). It seems to be a perfectly feasible program to at least pump up demand for eggs and spur lagging rural economy because this industry does not require sophisticated capital or large scale investment. Chickens can be raised in individual household, with investment and space ranging from small to medium scale, and household surplus/wastes can be used as to feed chickens. This reduces wastages (or say transferring deadweight loss from an inefficient activity to a all-gain activity!!). Eggs hatched by chickens could then be sold to a government agency responsible for distribution to primary school all over the country. 

This could be a perfectly viable and effective government investment to: (a) reduce the level of child malnutrition/undernutrition, (b) help reduce child poverty arising from hunger/malnutrition, (c) spur local rural economy, which could form a solid base of the economy for the meantime, (d) help increase household income, thus reduce income poverty, and (e) encourage SMEs to invest in this sector. The final multiplier effect would be large and consumption level for the whole economy would go up (remember, poor have more marginal propensity to consume) as a marginal increase in income of poor households would encourage them to invest or save more than well-off households. What a 'win-win' situation for all the parties concerned! eggs

The name sounds like OLPC program but OEPC would be less costly, stimulates local economy, helps reduce poverty, and increase school enrollment rates (remember, scores of school nutrition programs in the US have led to increase in enrollment rates in schools in marginalized communities!).

This is how the "egg multiplier" would work:

...The proposal is to start with at least three eggs per week for every child. Each egg will cost sh150, adding up to sh5,400 for a full term. Basing on 7.3 million children under the Universal Primary Education programme, assuming there are 250 school days in a year, 61,284,608 trays of eggs would be required. To meet this demand, 8,457,300 layers would be needed from local hatcheries. "This will raise the market for layer chicks," says Dr Flavio Oliviera of PAU. At the moment, there are around 3 million hybrid chicken, inclusive of layers and broilers.

Farmers who produce raw materials used for making chicken feed will also benefit. For this project, feed mills will have to produce 21,143 tonnes of chick and duck mash, 54,972 tonnes of growers feed and 14,407 tonnes of layer mash per year. "Over 490,522 tonnes of locally produced materials are needed. Maize alone at an inclusion rate of 30% in feed would be 147,156 tonnes," Oliviera says.

...If an average farmer rears at least 200 layers, a total of 42,286 people across the country will be directly employed in the poultry sector. Each of these farmers would be producing three trays of eggs per day, earning around sh10,000...

In nutrition content, an egg has 13.2% protein, 11.1% fats, 0.65% energy and 0.9% minerals. The largest advantage of eggs is that they cannot be contaminated. An egg is also easy to store and can last much longer.