China and Indonesia are the world’s largest and 7th largest egg producers, respectively. Although a growing number of food businesses have committed to sourcing exclusively cage-free eggs in their global supply chains within the next 5 years, many are facing implementation challenges in these and other Asian markets. There had been some hesitation amongst producers to transition from cages to cage-free systems without sufficient incentives to recoup their increased costs and local knowledge on how to navigate this move in their country or region.
Now, however, with increasing demand for cage-free eggs in Asia, farmers are seeking support to transition from conventional cage systems to higher welfare cage-free production and take advantage of this growing market demand.
To most effectively support the egg industry during this transition and assist with capacity building, we’re teaming up with industry leaders to establish cage-free training centres in both China and Indonesia. These centres will give producers the training they need to ensure sustainability, including good welfare practices and a competitive business advantage. The centres will provide practical training in best practices in cage-free management, serve as model farms for cage-free producers to visit, offer research and development centres, and serve farmers, auditors, veterinarians and other industry stakeholders regionwide.
Travel restrictions due to COVID-19 have inspired us to develop virtual learning tools as a component of our training programs. While the centres are expected to be fully operational by the end of 2021, the creative and impactful virtual learning resources we are developing will allow us to continue conducting critical training to support farmers in the interim.
As Jayasimha Nuggehalli, our COO and Co-founder, recently acknowledged in an interview with Eco-Business, we decided to establish these centres because “we had to build a system that would bridge and build confidence, both on the producers’ side as well as the buyers’ side.”
Our centres will do just this – provide support for the industry to successfully navigate the transition to cage-free eggs and bring together relevant stakeholders to ensure long-term success, sustainability, and profitability.