- January 14, 2020
Ethiopia is one of the fastest-growing economies in Africa, with a GDP growth rate of 8.5% in 2018. Despite rapid economic progress, however, poor nutrition is a critical health concern, with one in every three children stunted, one in every four women anemic, and 32% of the total population suffering from malnutrition.
Eggs, often referred to as ‘nature’s multivitamin’ or ‘nature’s first food’, have tremendous potential to counter maternal and child malnutrition in Ethiopia. They contain 13 essential vitamins and minerals that play a vital role in supporting human nutrition and growth. Eggs are easy to store, transport, clean, cook and eat, and can be prepared as a meal on their own or else used as an ingredient in recipes. Among all the sources of animal protein, eggs are one of the most affordable ones and have one of the lowest environmental footprints, making them a sustainable means of supporting optimal development and reducing malnutrition in children. Moreover, egg farming can provide lucrative economic outcomes for smallholder farmers.
However, only 13 eggs per person per year are available to the population of Ethiopia. This is because of the country’s inefficient production system. The backyard rearing of chickens, as the dominant model of egg production in the country, has created a situation characterized by lack of quality inputs, low egg productivity, and high bird mortality rates. Meanwhile independent farmers engaging with intensive production systems have little to no training and are confronted with inaccessibly high credit rates, rigid foreign exchange controls that restrict their access to critical vaccines and premixes, and a poor supply chain. In the course of various surveys, a number of focus group discussions and 50 interviews, Sight and Life conducted a thorough analysis of the factors required to improve production and de-bottleneck the egg value chain in Ethiopia.
This study was initiated from a desire to analyze the egg value chain in Ethiopia with the objective of ensuring scalable and sustainable egg production in that country. In the following report, the authors and contributors provide an understanding of the poultry ecosystem and the dynamics of various stakeholders across the egg value chain. This was done with the intent to identify the challenges and opportunities for a range of stakeholders and also to stimulate attention and investment on the part of various actors who are working to increase egg production in Ethiopia.