Although the government and other stakeholders are proposing that all school-going children are fed a cup of milk per day, experts think that an egg, three times a week will provide more benefits.
According to Dr Samuel Ssewagudde, a Commercial Director of Tunga Nutrition, a livestock consultant and trainer at the annual Harvest Money Expo, eggs offer an all-round nutritional value and are much easier to prepare compared to milk.
“Eggs will only require boiling for example before they are served as a ‘whole’ meal to children. However, milk will not only be boiled, but they will need tea leaves and sugar before serving it hence increasing the costs,” he says.
Additionally, while milk can be adulterated by adding water to increase the ‘volumes’, a boiled egg cannot be adulterated.
“Some people will add water in the milk to increase volume but in the process, this will affect the nutritional value,” he says.
He further explains that in terms of logistics, eggs still offer an advantage over milk.
“Eggs are easy to store compared to milk where the schools may even be required to invest into a cold storage chain,” he says.
Experts propose a feeding schedule of 3 eggs per week for each child if nutritional consistency is to be achieved.
If all 12 million children in schools are given an egg 3 times a week, then the farmers must produce an extra 36 million eggs per week or at least 420 million extra eggs per year.
Currently, according to statistics from the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), about 1 billion eggs are produced in Uganda.
Eggs are cheaper too, compared to milk. For example, whereas it will take a parent at least sh30,000 to effectively give milk to the child, it will take a parent at least sh12,000 to feed the child with an egg 3 times a week.
In a year, the child would consume at least 108 eggs.
“At the moment, the farm gate price of an egg is sh350 compared to sh1500 for a litre of milk,” Ssewagudde says.
According to Chris Magezi, Director Champrisa International, also a trainer at the Harvest Money Expo and livestock consultant, the ‘eggs per school child’ programme will have a big positive financial reward for the poultry sector and the country at large.
“We propose that suppliers of eggs to schools must be within a range of 5kms from the schools. This will provide a source of income to the households involved,” Magezi says.