An egg for everyone: Pathways to universal access to one of nature’s most nutritious foods
This article (PDF) by the Maternal and Child Nutrition Journal collates country‐level data on egg production, availability, consumption, prices, industry structure, and contextual trends and use these to estimate current patterns and likely future outcomes under four alternative scenarios. Eggs are a highly nutritious food but have been shown to be infrequently consumed in many low‐income countries, especially by women and children. The first, base, scenario: incremental change based on expected growth and urbanisation, results in modest increases in production in low-income regions. The second scenario: enhanced productivity of independent small producers, can only boost rural consumption in a handful of countries where poultry ownership is unusually high and would be expensive and logistically challenging to scale. It is unlikely to significantly improve egg consumption at national level. Scenario three: aggregated production in egg hubs, is a more promising pathway to increasing availability in rural areas. An egg hub model that aggregates clusters of medium-scale producers might increase access to eggs for many poorer countries. The fourth scenario: the accelerated spread of large-scale intensive production, is needed to meet the needs or urban populations. It brings down prices significantly, allowing many poor households to access and consume eggs. Recent experience in countries such as Thailand confirms that this is both feasible and impactful. Future studies should look in detail at price differentials between rural and urban areas and factor this in to scenario modelling. It would be of great use to develop an economy‐wide model for egg production and consumption, which also allows researchers to investigate the differential impacts of policies on rural and urban populations. It would also be important to examine how medium‐scale production such as egg hubs can evolve over time into the industrial scale production needed to meet the needs of growing urban areas.