Egg prices soar in India and the US

Production costs and bird flu outbreak a concern

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Egg
The price hike isn’t enough to cover the production costs that have increased significantly. Photo Unsplash

Egg prices have skyrocketed across the globe, mainly in the US and Europe, on account of a bird flu outbreak, combined with a hike in feed fuel and labor costs. In India too, egg prices too have risen significantly, riding on increased exports, higher input costs, and a rise in demand because of the cold weather.

On 11 January, eggs were selling at Rs 5.9 a piece, up from a low of Rs 3.8 on 1 August, and at Rs 6.14 in Mumbai, wholesale data showed.  

Farmers in India, however, say the price hike isn’t enough to cover the production costs that have increased significantly. The majority of eggs produced in the South Indian state come from Namakkal, which is over 75% annually of the state’s total produce. 

Over the past few years, the market conditions have been unstable due to the increasing cost of raw materials. The prices of feed, vaccines and maize have all increased, reported The New Indian Express.

President of the Tamil Nadu Poultry Farmers Association, Vangli Subramanian told TNIE, “During winter, intake of chicken increases by 10%. Usually, we feed 110 gm of feed, but now we are feeding 120 gm along with maize, and pearl millet among others. One kg of feed costs about Rs 30 while maize costs about Rs 24, and soya costs Rs 110. A few years ago the raw materials were cheaper by 35% to 40 %.”

According to the US department of agriculture, the weekly average price reached US$5.4 for a dozen eggs in December, up from US$1.4 in March 2022 and from the three-year average that fluctuated around US$1, putting stress on consumer budgets and the bottom line of businesses that rely heavily on eggs.

In the EU, prices for large and medium eggs were up 69.3% across the bloc from November 2021 to November 2022, mainly due to the Avian Flu outbreak, media reports said. 

Egg prices are up significantly more than other foods — even more than chicken or turkey — because egg farmers were hit harder by the bird flu. More than 43 million of the 58 million birds slaughtered over the past year to control the virus have been egg-laying chickens, reported TOI.

In some places, it can even be hard to find eggs on the shelves. But egg supplies overall are holding up because the total flock is only down about 5% from its normal size of around 320 million hens. Farmers have been working to replace their flocks as soon as they can after an outbreak.

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