4. Uganda: Egg shells can be a source of calcium – and profit (The Monitor)

| December 17, 2007

Download this story

A Ugandan woman has developed a product that could make poultry farming more profitable.

Jessica Nanyunja was studying nutrition at Kyambogo University near Kampala when she wondered why egg shells – a good source of calcium – are thrown away.

She explained her thoughts to a local newspaper: “I realised that poultry farming was on the increase but egg shells were put to waste. I also realised that farmers would get more money for the sale of eggs if the shells were of some economic value. These are among the factors that encouraged me to…establish the best way to promote their use for the benefit of poultry farmers and to tap the rather wasted source of calcium.”

As part of her university project, Ms. Nanyunja prepared a paste of egg shell powder and honey and presented it to a panel of lecturers. The panel enjoyed the nutritious paste and Ms. Nanyunja’s entrepreneurial spirit took off from there.

She began purchasing egg shells from local bakeries. She washes and crushes the shells into a powder, which she markets as a calcium supplement. Ms. Nanyunja sells the powder in 400 gram tins for about 6 US dollars, or 4 Euros, at her nutrition centre in the Kampala suburb of Nateete.

Egg shells are very nutritious because of their high concentration of calcium – a mineral that the body needs to build and maintain strong bones. The calcium from egg shells is particularly beneficial because they contain other nutrients such as magnesium and vitamin D that help the body use calcium.

Ms. Nanyunja says she already has loyal customers for her crushed egg shell supplement, but she is looking to expand her market by establishing healthy supplement levels for different age groups. She is even experimenting with different flavours of crushed egg shells. In their simple state, crushed egg shells can be sprinkled over meals for a nutritional boost.

The nutritionist and entrepreneur believes that this sort of processing and promoting of food products has great potential to improve farmers’ incomes.

She has also experimented with post-harvest processing of some local crops. She purchases and processes pumpkin seeds, which are a good source of the mineral zinc, and katunkuma – tiny bitter tomatoes which are believed to promote healthy blood pressure.