Building a stronger community and country, one egg at a timeBy Christine Anawati
“It’s been four months since our last visit to Swaziland, and I’m looking forward to returning to see what changes have occurred,” explains Tim Lambert, CEO of Egg Farmers of Canada and Vice-Chair of the International Egg Commission.
Lambert first visited this southern African country roughly a year ago as part of the International Egg Foundation and Egg Farmers of Canada project team working alongside Heart for Africa to add an egg farm to the existing farming initiative.
The project team, made up of a group of Canadian egg farmers, and staff from Egg Farmers of Canada and the International Egg Foundation, have been diligently planning the expansion of the farm and exploring ways to grow egg consumption in Swaziland, as well as other African countries.
“The egg farm will serve as a model,” says Lambert. “By working with generous donors and partners, it’s our intention to use the model developed here, and implement it in other parts of Africa to give more people access to a locally-produced source of high-quality protein.”
During the project team’s first visit to Swaziland, Lambert along with others met with Heart for Africa founders, Janine and Ian Maxwell. The Maxwells, who are Canadian, moved their family to Swaziland to build and manage the multi-commodity farm and orphanage in 2012.
“We toured the operation and saw first-hand how Heart for Africa is creating real, positive, and lasting change in the lives of hundreds of Swazi people,” he says.
He goes on to explain that Heart for Africa is a major employer in the region and the project provides jobs for 213 Swazis who care for the children, operate the farm, construct the expanding facilities, and work in the artisan jewellery workshop.
The orphanage is home to almost 100 children under the age of four who live on-site. Through education and vocational training, the children will be taught the skills to build a stronger community, country and future for themselves and their country.
“This generation is being equipped with the knowledge to drive social change and make a substantial contribution in a country shattered by HIV/AIDS.”
The 2,500 acre farm’s activities range from crop production, to goat and dairy farming, and even includes a plantation with local fruits. There is enough food being produced to stimulate the local economy, and generate profit to sustain the orphanage and farm.
The team returned to Swaziland this past October to begin sourcing supplies and equipment to construct the egg barn, and establish the farm’s supply chain.
“We are working with the community to build the barn from the ground up. Together we’re evaluating important operational requirement, for example what breed of hens and housing system will work best in that setting.”
Once in place, the project team will train and educate Swazis on egg production, animal care and food safety. “Our people will continue to provide on-the-ground expertise to ensure the success of the operation and a continuous supply of eggs.”
Donate to Heart for Africa today to help build the poultry house
Take action now, and help local farmers develop successful domestic egg operations for Swaziland. Visit heartforafrica.ca (or heartforafrica.org in the U.S.) and select “poultry house” to pledge your financial support and help us feed a hungry world with eggs–the most nutritious, accessible and sustainable source of high-quality protein.