Poultry farms to be established in Central Schools to achieve 3 eggs a child a week

The ministry of agriculture, together with the education ministry, has plans to establish poultry farms in all central schools to achieve the nutritional goal of three eggs a child a week introduced last year.

Schools have been encouraged to make proposals for the poultry farm through the School Agriculture Program (SAP) practiced in the schools.

SAP started in 2000 in six pilot schools and currently 300 schools have adopted SAP activities such as vegetable gardening, mushroom production, dairy, piggery and poultry for eggs production to implement the three eggs per child per week.

Of the 51 central schools, 34 are yet to establish a poultry farm. However, Ura and Tang Central Schools (CS) in Bumthang, Bjishong in Gasa, Chundu and Gongzim Ugyen Dorji in Haa and Phobjikha in Wangdue cannot have a poultry farm due to extreme cold weather. Central schools in Tsirang and Mendrelgang also cannot have poultry farms because of a lack of space.

The required budget is Nu 311,000 for a farm, which totals to Nu.10.574 mn for 34 schools.

The Dy. Chief program Officer of School Health and Nutrition Division, Desang Dorji, said, the government provides Nu 1000 a child a month stipend to source food from the market but there is a lot of fluctuation in supply and price as experienced during this year’s monsoon. “So it’s always good to produce your own to cut expenditure and also serve as learning material for the students,” Desang Dorji said. “Producing eggs is the best and easiest option compared with fishery and piggery against which there is a lot of social stigma.”

The ministry’s SAP Program Officer, Mr. BB Rai, said there was a big worry regarding malnutrition of children, so the option was to increase food stipend for the students but increasing stipend is big deal for Bhutan with a small economy. “So the best option is to produce and consume,” he said.

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