Project overview

The IEF is proud to be working alongside the charity Heart for Africa, “educating a generation to re-build a nation.”  IEF is supporting Project Canaan, a sustainable farm and “whole of childhood” orphanage in Swaziland.

Swaziland is a country suffering from a generation lost to HIV AIDS.  In 2003, Swaziland’s average life expectancy was 61 years, in 2015 the average life expectancy is now just 29 years of age.

IEF and its lead partner, Egg Farmers of Canada (EFC), have built an egg farm from the ground up to provide a high quality source of protein for the children in the orphanage, their care takers and for the local community.  As well as providing a sustainable food supply, eggs are also a high quality protein source which boosts immunity levels, they also support brain development in infants and concentration levels in children attending school.

IEF/EFC’s involvement includes implementing a sustainable business model, coordinating aspects of the construction, and providing on-going training and education for Swazis on egg production.  This on-going support will ensure the sustainable, continual supply of eggs.

Sustainability runs throughout the project with the sale of surplus eggs helping to generate funds for the orphanage.  As this is a “whole of childhood” project a further level of sustainability is achieved through education and transfer of skills to create a talented skills base to develop, set up and run additional projects across Swaziland, to educate a generation to re-build a nation.

IEF is looking to raise additional external funding to:

  • Further develop this model across Swaziland.

Project updates

March 2017

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Heart for Africa recently celebrated their first anniversary of egg production at Project Canaan. Thanks to the support of the international egg community, the farm is thriving and is already preparing for its first flock change.

Throughout 2016 and continuing into 2017 egg farmers have volunteered their time in Swaziland to support the training of farm employees and assisting in the development of a long-term strategy to sustain the egg operation over time.

June 2016

Presentation at Official Opening  Steve Manton at Official Opening

June 24th saw the official opening of the of the Project Canaan egg farm in Swaziland.

The successful implementation of the 5,000 egg laying operation demonstrates the capabilities of our allied industries. A huge ‘thank you’ to everyone involved. IEF’s first charitable pilot scheme could only happen with considerable industry engagement, championed by Egg Farmers of Canada (EFC), with strong support from industry partners Big Dutchman, Sanovo and Lohmann.

VIPS & leaders from Swaziland as well as representatives from the global egg industry attended the opening to celebrate the impact eggs will bring to Project Canaan and the community.

VIPs who attended the ceremony:

  • Honourable Minister of Health Sibongile Ndlela-Simelane
  • Honourable Minister of Agriculture Moses Vilikati
  • Chief Prince Hynd Dlamini
  • Dr. Bitchong and Dr. Pawelos from Raleigh Fitkin Memorial Hospital
  • Bishop Masilela, President of the Swaziland conference of churches in Swaziland

International egg industry visitors:

  • Tim Lambert, EFC and IEF (Canada)
  • Chad Gregory, UEP (USA)
  • Steve Manton, IEF (UK)
  • Ci Eshel, Chief Karma Officer from Thornico (Demark)
  • Vicky Engsted, Group Marketing Manager from Sonovo Technology Group (Demark)
  • Frank Pace, former IEC Chairman (Australia)
  • Paul Turley, Big Dutchman (SA)

There were also Chiefs from the surrounding communities, Pastors from Heart for Africa’s partners churches, and Heart for Africa’s children. With immediate community benefits at both the Heart for Africa orphanage and 30 feeding stations throughout the region, Project Canaan is a fantastic showcase of the power of the egg!

Key stats about the egg barn and project include:

  • The operation welcomed its first flock of 2,500 hens in January 2016. The second flock of hens to fill the second barn will arrive in early July 2016
  • The eggs produced feed Heart for Africa’s children and staff, and supplement a feeding program that delivers 74,000 hot meals every month to rural areas through a network of 31 churches
  • The expansion of Heart for Africa’s multicommodity farm created more jobs within the community and provides an additional opportunity for training and skill development

The success of future projects is dependent on the ongoing collaboration of donors and sponsors.

January 2016

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The newly built egg laying operation at Project Canaan welcomed its first flock of pullets this month. The egg barn will be delivering thousands of nutritious eggs to orphaned children and communities in Swaziland. This will enhance Heart for Africa’s existing feeding programme which already delivers 74,000 hand-packed meals each month to rural communities through a network of 30 churches.

Egg farming is a perfect way to ensure protein and vitamins are incorporated into the diet of undernourished people anywhere in the world.

Julian Madeley, Managing Director of the International Egg Foundation said “When organisations like Heart for Africa and Egg Farmers of Canada partner with local farmers, the diets, well-being and outcomes for populations can be improved greatly. Eggs in particular, given the efficiency of hens and scalability of operations, can have an incredible impact in terms of nutrition and sustainable food supply.”

The next phase of the egg farm development will be the arrival and installation of the specialised equipment to hard cook the eggs. This will enable easier distribution of the eggs to the surrounding community.

November 2015

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The barn construction is now well underway. Housing systems are on site with arrangements proceeding for installation. The open-air barns will have a steel frame and roof with vents down the centre. Netting will be used to keep wild birds out. Fans and curtains will be used to control air movements.

The first flock of pullets are due to arrive in early January 2016. The selected breed is known to work well in the climate and is a multipurpose bird, which will bring an additional source of nutrition to the community and income to the farm.

A training plan is under development to teach and build an understanding of best practices in animal husbandry and egg production. The Egg Farmers of Canada’s project team will also provide ongoing support and training. Eggs will be stored onsite and specialised equipment, will be in place to hard cook the eggs to ease distribution to the surrounding community.

There has been a collaborative industry response to Project Canaan with a tremendous coming together to donate the equipment and provide resources necessary to move to the operational phase of the egg farm. Many thanks go to Big Dutchman, Sanovo, Lohmann and Nuovo who are all contributing to the project.

The International Egg Foundation, with support from industry and its partners, will hope to see the layer operation grow to up to 30,000 laying hens and develop into a long-term sustainable operation. The IEF anticipates supporting the Swazi operation for a period of seven years, until it becomes self-sufficient.

October 2014

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Egg Farmers of Canada (EFC) is the lead partner with the IEF steering Project Canaan; EFC donates time, expertise and resources to this project.

IEF’s involvement in Project Canaan began in June 2014 when a team from the EFC and IEF visited Swaziland to conduct a feasibility study and determined that this was a highly viable project for IEF.

In October 2014, representatives from EFC and IEF returned to Swaziland to re-visit Project Canaan.  Four months on since their last visit, Tim Lambert, CEO of Egg Farmers of Canada was looking forward to seeing what changes had occurred in the development of the project.

Following this second visit, Tim Lambert reported that the team is now beginning to source suppliers and equipment to construct the egg farm and establish the farm’s supply chain.  It is working with the community to build the egg farm from the ground up.  Construction is planned to begin later in 2015, with the aim of having staff trained and birds in the barn by the end of the year.  Tim Lambert explained:  “Our people will continue to provide on-the-ground expertise to ensure the success of the operation and continuous supply of eggs.”

The next step in this project is to finalise the details in the project plan and continue the drive to raise the funds required.

Find out more information on Heart for Africa and Project Canaan at www.heartforafrica.org