Daily Trust (Abuja)

21 November 2012

Nigeria: How Eggs Enhance Healthy Living

Abeokuta — The protein content in eggs has been discovered to be the cheapest and most commonly sourced among the proteins necessary for healthy living and human growth.

The Poultry Association of Nigeria (PAN) said for a person to have a healthy growth and meet up the expected life expectancy, one should eat at least one egg daily.

Addressing a two-day national poultry show in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, chairman of the South West zone of the association Dr. Ayoola Oduntan said it is regrettable that most Nigerians do not either have access to eggs daily or do not know the value and protein content of eggs and their contribution towards achieving high life expectancy.

"In Mexico, the per eating eggs status is about 344 eggs per person per year; their minimum life expectancy is 87 years. In Nigeria, only 30-40 eggs are eaten per person per year and our life expectancy is 47 years. So, who is killing who? Or what is killing what?" he asked.

He urged the Federal Government through the ministries of Agriculture, Information, Health and Women Affairs Development and Sports to give Nigerians more information on the essence of consuming eggs more regularly, declaring that the present situation "is not encouraging, to say the least."

In a bid to ensure more production of eggs for Nigerians at affordable prices, the association called on government to make available about two million metric tons of maize annually at N30,000 per metric ton and one million tons of soya beans in the same context to guarantee a sustainable poultry industry in years to come in the country.

Dr. Oduntan said the two major ingredients which formed about 70 per cent needs of the industry are maize and soya beans, adding that it would provide more jobs if such incentives are provided, while the transformation agenda of the industry will also be guaranteed.

"We do not want more graphs, charts and tables. What we want is how we can create more money in our business. We want the Federal Government to give us maize at N30,000 and soya at N60,000. We also want to double what we are producing now, if we can get 2 million metric tons of maize and at least one million metric tons of soya," he said.

Dr. Oduntan also said that the input factor of the industry will do better in terms of production of the birds and their eggs, "when there is enabling environment, as what is obtained in any global practice."

He pointed out that more people in the country, "are coming into the industry, as such, government should also take seriously our yearnings in the interest of the people who have decided to stake their money in the industry."

In his address, the Director Livestock Department, Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Prof. E. B. Sonaiya, said the theme of the show, "Poultry

Transformation Agenda" is appropriate as it tends to alert stakeholders on the need to produce more, earn more profit and create more jobs.

"This is basically what the transformation is all about. We are also looking at the policies, in areas of taxes, rebates, substandard and entrepreneurial ship," Sonaiya said.

Ogun State governor, Sen. Ibikunle Amosun, in his remarks, said the state government would soon commission the three hatchery centres, located at Ijebu, Ilaro and Odeda council areas for easy hatching of birds.

Amosun, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, said his administration would continue to stimulate production and collaborate with the poultry farmers to achieve set goals for the industry."

The national poultry exhibition was attended by several independent poultry farmers and states like Kano, Katsina, Zamfara, Plateau, Kwara, Ebonyi, Lagos, Oyo, Ondo, Ekiti, Osun and host state, Ogun.

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