New Delhi, The Hush Post: With the prices of eggs fluctuating between Rs 80-90 a dozen, housewives are thinking twice before breaking the egg on the pan. She’s looking for alternatives to make up for the egg-less rack in the refrigerator. A near-60 per cent rise in egg prices for the last few weeks has made egg lovers rethink.“Egg prices have jumped by up to 40 per cent to Rs 7-7.50 per piece in retail markets in most parts of the country, hit by tight supply,” Poultry Federation of India President Ramesh Katri said. The upward trend would continue in coming months as egg production is likely to be lower by 25-30 per cent this year, he said.
The breakfast staple, which has never crossed the Rs 5 mark, is now retailing at as high as Rs 7 per piece in shops and departmental stores at most big cities like Chandigarh, Delhi, Ludhiana, Mumbai, and Bengaluru. Egg prices in retail markets in the national capital are ruling at Rs 7-7.50 per piece, up from Rs 4-5 last year, according to trade data.
Egg prices at the retail level peak during November and January every year but due to early onset of winter and the fog prevailing in the north, it came earlier, NECC National Egg Coordination Committee has said.
Demand from north India has gone up over the past few weeks, some estimates say it is 25-30% higher than last year. North Indians consume more eggs during cold season.
Increased expenditure on feed could be another major reason for the high priced eggs. Production cost of eggs is directly proportional to the feed cost. Egg-laying chicken are fed maize, corn, broken rice, groundnut cakes, jowar, bajra and soya (mixed with amino acids) to augment yields. As a result, when grain prices increase, egg production costs rise in tandem. That apart, distance between egg and feed production centres also determines the price of eggs.
Poultry farmers and wholesalers expect retail prices to stabilise at Rs 4.50 over the next few weeks. Egg prices may not drop below Rs 4 anytime soon, as transportation cost has gone up post the introduction of the goods & services tax, wholesalers opine. Packing and forwarding costs amount to 55 paise per egg currently.
Between 60-70 percent of India’s total egg requirement is met by southern states states like Andhra Pradesh, the newly-carved out Telengana, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Haryana and Punjab in the North.