Egg prices have increased sharply over the past two months and ahead of the peak consumption season during the winter. This is due to the impact of reduction in placement (hatching) of chicks by producers and rising production costs.
Good export demand is aiding the uptrend in price, which producers said is likely to hold on to current levels till February. By then, the output is likely to rise due to the increase in placements that is taking place now.
Prices in Namakkal, the main producing centre, have increased by over 37 per cent since early September. From around ₹400 per 100 eggs in early September, prices have moved up to the current levels of ₹550, as per National Egg Coordination Committee data. Also, in large consuming centres such as Chennai, prices have gone up by 28 per cent from around ₹475 in early September to ₹610 now. In Bengaluru, prices are currently hovering around ₹595 from around ₹440 in early September, up 35 per cent.
Average monthly egg prices in Namakkal were at ₹544.19 in January and declined to ₹429.67 in April. Since then, prices have increased steadily before touching ₹529.17 in June. In October, the average monthly price rebounded to ₹508.3 and is now at ₹541.43 (till November 20*).
Over the past 30 days, egg prices in Namakkal have increased by 6.8 per cent. Prices can be impacted by seasonal factors, such as changes in weather, which can influence the laying patterns of hens. Colder temperatures can lead to a decrease in egg production, causing prices to rise due to a reduced supply.
Valsan Parameswaran, Secretary, All India Poultry Exporters Association, said the producers had reduced the chick placements by about 10 per cent over the past six months due to poor realisation when prices slipped below ₹400 levels. With prices moving up by about 40 per cent, the placements have started again and will come into production by February till when the prices are likely to rule firm, he said. Firm export demand from countries like Sri Lanka and distribution of eggs through the mid-day meal schemes have also contributed to the prices moving up, Parameswaran said.
Feed costs up
Naveen Pasuparthy, President, Karnataka Poultry Farmers and Breeders Association, said the rise in feed costs on account of increase in maize and soyabean prices have also contributed to the rise in egg prices. Maize production has been impacted in Karnataka due to drought resulting in rise in prices, while the quality of soyabean has taken a hit due to the erratic rains, he said.
Panneerselvam of Abhi Eggs, a leading exporter, said apart from weather vagaries and rising exports, higher feed prices is the main reason behind this jump in egg prices.
K Singaraj, President, TN Poultry Farmers Association, seconded him saying higher production costs coupled with higher feed intake by birds during winter and low output is plaguing the sector. “Maize prices are now at ₹26/kg against ₹22 in September-October. Also, soya prices have increased by ₹10 a kg. We feel ₹6 apiece would be ideal to cover the losses and we have made a representation to the Union government also,” he said.