EGG PRICES have soared to Rs 84-86 a dozen from Rs 60 a dozen last week in the retail market. This is for the first time that prices have risen two to three times a month. Households are looking for a substitute as it is becoming a bit too expensive.
“Last week, I bought eggs for Rs 470 in the wholesale rate. Yesterday, I bought them for Rs 570. I am selling them for 80 rupees a dozen and 7 rupees an egg. I am not aware of the reason for this sudden price hike. But, many of my customers are not buying eggs anymore,” said Musharraf, a shopkeeper in the Industrial Area.
Sangeeta Verma, a resident of Ramdarbar, said this is for the first time she has seen such a hike in egg price. “Even chicken is cheaper. Four to five months back, an egg cost Rs 4 only. Three to four days back, an egg cost Rs 6 and today, it has reached Rs 7. We will have to find some other substitute.”
Another retailer Vijay Kumar, based in Sector 44, said, “This is for the third time that wholesale prices have jumped up. In the beginning of the month, I bought eggs for Rs 4. It has risen to Rs 6 in the wholesale market for the last two days. I am selling eggs for Rs 7 a piece. Customers say it is very expensive. How can I manage it? My margin is only one rupee here.”
On the recent price hike of eggs, Chief Executive, National Eggs Coordination Committee (NECC), Ajit Singh, said, “Demand-supply factor, expansion of poultry farms and losses faced by farmers in previous three years are the main factors for this sudden rise in egg prices, though we tried to control the hike in farmer prices.”
Ajit added, “There used to be a huge cold-storage system for eggs in the previous years to fulfil the sudden rise in demand for eggs. For the last three years, our farmers are bearing a huge loss. They did not get reasonable prices in the market due to which they showed little interest in storing eggs in cold stores. And, this has resulted in the lack of supply and rise in prices.”
“There are certain reasons for this sudden hike in egg prices. First, farmers were bearing a great loss as they were not getting a reasonable price for their poultry products and eggs. Due to the loss of supply, there was a shortage at poultry farms,” said NECC National Vice-President Sandeep Mehta. “The second reason is sometimes when there is a hike in prices at the vegetable market, people tend to substitute eggs with vegetables. And, in winter, high consumption is normal. With the poultry sector already facing a shortage of supply, it led to a price hike,” he stated.
“Lastly, there is very little expansion of poultry farms and egg production centres. The Central Pollution Control Board has issued certain guidelines which have an adverse effect in the northern belt. Egg consumption increases every year. But, in this regard, there is very little expansion in poultry farming bodies. These guidelines are impractical to implement. If these are not amended in the upcoming years, eggs will have to be imported from other countries,” added Mehta.