Economy

Egg prices crack up further

Gayathri G. Chennai | Updated on February 18, 2011

BL18_COM2_EGGS

The shell egg trade in Tamil Nadu has slashed prices due to reduced seasonal consumption and changes in the marketplace, including low inventories maintained by traders.

To save poultry farms from possible accumulation of stocks, the National Egg Coordination Committee's Namakkal zone has trimmed the price to Rs 2.10 a piece from last week's Rs 2.35. Egg prices had reached a record high of Rs 3.02 during the second week of January.

NECC Zonal Chairman, Dr P. Selvaraj, said the price reduction is mainly due to the stagnation of over 10-crore eggs during Pongal holidays and the stabilising weather conditions in the North, which consumed around 20 lakh eggs a day till January. February and March are months when the poultry business usually sees the egg consumption graph flat due to the onset of summer.

Apart from the fall in consumption, wholesalers and retailers prefer to keep the inventories low because high temperature results in low shelf-life. Therefore, eggs tend to stockpile at the production centre, according to market sources. “Egg production has to be maintained even if profits are minimal because it's a long-term investment of around two years,” said Mr R. Nallathambi, President, Tamil Nadu Poultry Farmers' Association.

Chicken prices

Meanwhile, chicken prices continue to be at rock-bottom levels. The NECC has slashed the prices of layer birds to Rs 23/kg (Rs 26) while the Palladam-based Broiler Coordination Committee has raised the prices of cull birds to Rs 54/kg (Rs 51).

On the export front, with the doors of West Asia still closed to Indian poultry products, the trade is now focusing more on the neighbouring Sri Lanka as the country has decided to import eggs from India until the shortage is met there and domestic prices stabilise.

Earlier, India used to export 100 containers (of 4.75 lakh eggs each) every month to West Asia and 50 containers to Africa. But now these have dropped to negligible levels. India, since mid-December, has exported around 18 lakh eggs to Sri Lanka.

Published on February 17, 2011

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