High egg prices provide relief
In the wake of the massive losses suffered by the
Indian poultry industry this year because of bird flu, egg farmers are getting
some relief in the form of increased egg prices, which have shot through the
roof in the past several months.
Prices have reportedly increased by up to 50 percent in some markets,
threatening to rival gourmet specialties like caviar.
Even wholesale prices have surpassed previous retail levels, leaving a
major impact on home budgets. A tray of 30 farm eggs now costs Rs 62 (US$1.39)
as compared Rs 49 (US$1.10) per tray just a few weeks ago.
Egg prices normally increase in winter due to increased demand, but the
unprecedented increases of the past couple of months could reach Rs 70 to Rs 75
(US$1.57-1.69) per tray before December.
Egg traders say that the widespread destruction of hens, chicks and eggs in
response to bird
has left demand outweighing supply. They say that increasing prices will
help the industry recover from the impact of avian influenza.
Said Mohit Kumar of wholesalers Mohit Eggs: â€œOn an average we sent at least
800 trays daily to cater to Delhi alone. We didn't expect the demand to be that
high this bird flu year, given that prices were shooting through the roof. But
our supply this winter is as high as ever.â€
The inflated prices should provide some relief to an industry that claimed
a loss of Rs 8,000 crore (US$1.8 billion) over a two-month period earlier this
year, owing to bird flu.
India is the second largest egg producer and the fifth largest broiler
producer in the world, according to the National Egg
. It employs more than three million people.
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