Can eggs help feed a hungry world?By Tim Lambert
Think for just a moment about the challenges facing global agriculture over the coming decades, and you’ll realize—we have a lot of work to do.
The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization puts it like this: “(global agriculture) has to produce more food and fibre to feed a growing population, with a smaller rural labour force… contribute to overall development in the many agriculture-dependent developing countries, adopt more efficient and sustainable production methods and adapt to climate change.”1
It’s a big menu, and a demanding one. The world population is going to grow by an estimated 2.3 billion people between 2009 and 2050, and our planet will need more food than ever before.2 The overwhelming majority of this growth is happening in the developing countries, and as the FAO notes, undernutrition will remain widespread even decades from now.3
This is not just an economic challenge. It’s not dollars and cents. It’s a moral challenge, and we all must play a part in solving it. According to the World Health Organization, malnutrition contributes to more than one-third of all child deaths.4 UNICEF says that undernutrition contributes to half of all deaths in children under five.5
The humble egg can help right this wrong. One pilot study conducted in Uganda sought to see if eating one or two eggs could improve the growth and development of school age children. The study found that adding eggs to a diet may contribute positively to the physical development of children in Uganda.6 Another study in Thailand found that eggs corrected problems of protein malnutrition among elementary school children.7 It shows the potential power that eggs can play in feeding a hungry world. Now it’s up to us to step up to the plate.
Here at Egg Farmers of Canada, we’re proud to share this vision across the globe through the International Egg Foundation. The International Egg Foundation is devoted to increasing egg production and egg consumption in developing countries. Our collaborative efforts are already helping more children and families access the high-quality protein and nutrition found in eggs.8 One example is our 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.
It’s a great start, but we want to do even more. We have a vision of eggs playing a central role in the fight to feed a hungry world. The numbers are clear and the challenge is looming. We’re working towards a world where children won’t go hungry, and get the nutrients they need to thrive.
1 Food and Agriculture Organization
2 Food and Agriculture Organization
3 Food and Agriculture Organization
4 World Health Organization
6 The Effects of Consuming Eggs on the Physical Development of Students Participating in a School Feeding Program in Uganda: A Pilot study by Jamie Baum and Jefferson Miller
7 Supplement of three eggs a week improves protein malnutrition in Thai children from rural areas by Mayurasakorn K., Sitphahul P., and Hongto P.O.
8 International Egg Foundation