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Egg prices hit record on supply, rising input costs

Published on 7 November, 2006, Last updated at 12:01 GMT


BANGALORE, NOV 6: For the first time in the history of Indian poultry sector, egg prices surged to record levels following shortage of egg supply and rise in production costs. Interestingly, trade sources blamed bird flu for both the price decline and price escalation of egg this year.

Talking to FE, National Egg Coordination Committee (NECC) chief executive K Sathyanarayana said that the egg prices crashed down when the bird flu fear centred the country from February to August.

On an average, the farm gate prices plunged to Rs 1.02 per egg due to decline in consumption on the back of bird flu from February to August, while the production costs increased to Rs 1.30 per egg due to rise in costs of raw materials like maize, groundnut cake, soya, bajra, jowar and ragi.

During normal days, the Northern region comprising Gujarat, Maharashtra, Haryana, Delhi and Punjab produce 3 crore units of eggs per day while Andhra Pradesh produces 4.5 crore units followed by Tamil Nadu at 2.5 crore units and Karnataka 1.5 crore eggs per day, Sathyanarayana said.

Generally old layer birds, which lay eggs for around 72 weeks, are replaced by new birds. But due to fall in egg prices during bird flu episode, over 30% of layer birds in the country were not replaced while the old birds were sent for culling.

Sathyanarayana said that maize prices surged to Rs 800 per quintal from Rs 450 a year ago, while the prices of other ingredients for poultry feed like soya, groundnut cake, jowar, bajra and ragi also jumped by 20-25% year-on-year.

Infact during bird flu attack, northern states have cut down the egg production to 2 crore units per day from the regular production of 3 crore units. But after the declaration of India as "bird-flu free region" in August, other countries started importing eggs from India resulting in sudden increase in demand for Indian eggs in the domestic and international markets. In addition, consumption across the country also increased from October owing to winter season.

According to NECC's Namakkal chapter, currently the farm-gate price of per egg was fixed at Rs 1.96 in New Delhi, Rs 1.95 in Kolkata, Rs 1.90 in Mumbai, Rs 1.84 in Chennai, Rs 1.67 in Hyderabad and Rs 1.77 in Bangalore. In all places, egg prices have jumped by 16-22% year-on-year. The retail prices are ruling at Rs 2.25 to Rs 2.50 per egg in metropolitan pockets across the country. However, realising the demand, poultry farmers have started placing chicks in their farms since September-end.


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