Smallholder farmers in SAIP sites harness the power of eggs to improve household nutrition

In an effort to improve household nutrition among pregnant women, lactating mothers and children under the age of five, Sustainable Agricultural Intensification and Food Security Project (SAIP) provided chicken (layers) to farmers’ households categorised under Ubudehe 1 and 2 in its intervention sites across the country.

SAIP distributed chicken to farmers with an intention to provide animal source of proteins through egg consumption for pregnant women, lactating mothers and children under the age of five at household level.

Each household with a pregnant woman, lactating mother or children under the age of five received four chicken layers from SAIP in order to improve household nutrition and healthy eating habits.

“Our chicken have started laying eggs. We are very happy because, we are able to feed our children eggs. We thank SAIP for supporting us to start poultry farming and increase egg production,” said Evelyn Musabyimana, one of the chicken beneficiaries.

She said that she feeds each of her two little children four eggs per week which has improved their nutritional status and health.

“We have been struggling to add animal source of nutrients to our family diet because eggs and meat are costly. Since, we have eggs now; this means our children will be able to eat eggs each week,” said Musabyimana.

She explained that the Project has also supported them to construct chicken pens equipped with suitable breeding sites’ equipment and materials.

“We are going to ensure that our children eat eggs on regular basis because eggs are pure source of proteins which are important to prevent malnutrition like stunting among children under the age of 5, “said Specioza Uwimana, another beneficiary.

She added that with the proper nutrients, children can grow and reach their full potential.

Uwimana said that SAIP has not only given out chicken, but also trained them in poultry rearing and management and also supported with chicken feeders, drinkers and start-up chicken feed.

According to her, extra eggs produced will be sold for income to buy other nutritious foods.

 “Proteins are one of the essential nutrients required in daily meals especially for children under the age of five, pregnant women and lactating mothers. SAIP is contributing to national efforts in the fight against chronic malnutrition and other forms of malnutrition, this is why the Project decided to support vulnerable households with chicken layers so that they can get regular eggs for home consumption as animal source of protein,” said Edgar Gatete, Nutrition Specialist at SAIP.

He added that eggs are not only rich on proteins, they also provide several other nutrients that are important to children, pregnant women  and lactating mothers including, iron, vitamin D, chlorine, and selenium, as well as an assortment of minerals and vitamin B.

Gatete pointed out that SAIP emphasizes strong behaviour change through different communication strategies to encourage egg consumption among farmers in its areas of intervention countrywide.

Under its subcomponent: Improving nutrition outcomes at household level; SAIP targets to improve nutritional outcomes at the household level in the project areas by increasing access to healthy and diversified foods and by promoting good practices for improving nutrition.

SAIP’S main objective is to increase agricultural productivity, market access, and food security of the targeted beneficiaries in the project intervention areas.