Nutrition experts on Friday pleaded for increased egg consumption by mothers and children to reduce malnutrition in the country to achieve Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) as a minister unveiled a plan to raise per capita egg consumption to 104 a year.
They said around 24 per cent of women in Bangladesh are suffering from long-term malnutrition which is responsible for anemia, night blindness, stuntedness, under-weight and physically vulnerable diseases that have afflicted approximately 0.92 million children.
The experts came up with the suggestions at a discussion marking 'World Egg Day', jointly organised by the Livestock Department and the Bangladesh Poultry Industries Central Council (BPICC) at the National Press Club.
Attending the programme as chief guest, Fisheries and Livestock Minister Mohammed Sayedul Haque said the government has set a plan to increase per capita egg consumption to 104 annually to reduce the curse of malnutrition.
Mentioning that Bangladesh has become 4th in fresh water fish production in the world, he said, "We don't want to be dependent on imported fish, meat, egg and milk to meet the protein demand of the country."
Around 45 per cent of the animal protein comes from the poultry sector. That is why the government is committed to develop the potential sector, the Minister added.
He also said the government has already banned egg import to facilitate local entrepreneurs.
BPICC President Mashiur Rahman said egg is a cheap source of nutrition that can play a significant role in reducing malnutrition, but the production cost of this food is increasing due to hike in poultry feed prices and other sector-related raw materials.
He urged the government to withdraw import duty on raw materials related to poultry industry and to promote egg consumption through the state-owned media.
In 2014, per capita egg consumption was 179 per year in the developed world while Bangladeshis eat only 51 eggs per year as against minimum of 104 eggs prescribed by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation of (FAO), said BPICC vice-president Shamsul Arefin.
Egg production in the country has been increased to 68.3 million tonnes in 2013 from only 38 million tonnes in 1993, he said adding, some 22.5 million eggs are being produced in the country per day, and the poultry sector has set the target to produce 45 million eggs daily by 2030.
Director General of Livestock Department Ajay Kumar Roy and Bangladesh Agriculture University professors Dr. Priya Mohan Das and Dr. Shubash Chandra Das were also present on the occasion.
Earlier the day, a colourful procession was brought out from the National Press Club to end near Matsya Bhaban in the city.