LAHORE -  Pakistan Poultry Association has urged the government to support the association PPA in an effort to raise nutrition levels and remove the deficiency of protein among the children.

In response to the World Bank report, stating that almost 44 percent children of 5-15 years in the country are suffering from malnutrition and stunting, the association has planned to provide chicken and eggs to schoolchildren in a number of government schools. If the Punjab government provides funds the ‘chicken serving programme’ can be extended across the country to eliminate stunting among 50 million children of Pakistan, said PPA (NZ) Chairman Dr Abdul Karim.

While addressing a seminar on “Pakistan Poultry Development & bridging the nutritional gap,” organised by PPA in collaboration with the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Tuesday, Dr Karim said that the PPA in this regard has already launched a pilot project on April 17, 2017 in collaboration with the University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, selecting Government Girls Community Model School, Chak no 34, Mundeki, Pattoki for serving chicken and eggs to its all students.

Dr Karim said that PPA wanted to extend this project to all public schools across the country with the support of government to serve the chicken and eggs to around 25 million school going children. He said that poultry sector is the most organised agro-based sectors and poultry farms are available in each and every corner of the country.

Hence, the poultry industry can be the best option for the government to launch the food programme for schoolchildren using PPA platform across the country to control stunting and malnutrition at this stage.

The government food programme will not only end protein deficiency among the children but also help strengthen an agro-based indigenous industry already generating employment for about 1.8 million people mostly in rural areas. He said the average Pakistani consumed 10.5 kilograms of meat and 90 eggs yearly in comparison to the recommended annual intake of 250-300 eggs and 25-28 kilograms of meat. He said nutritionists recommended people to consume eggs regularly as physical and mental health were dependent on protein. He said the inadequate per capita consumption of eggs in Pakistan was a cause of concern.