COVID-19 pandemic has affected the price of essential commodities, including eggs. Last May, the price of eggs stood at Nu 420 per tray. This year the price hike is at Nu 440 per tray from just Nu 350 – 370 a month ago.
A shopkeeper, Dema, in the capital said, “Since the pandemic, the price of eggs has increased due to increased demand from suppliers. Thus, we don’t have a choice but to sell at the current price.”
A Thimphu resident, Pema Deki, said the rise in the price of commodities affects the low-income individuals the most.
“I’ve noticed that the price of eggs has increased twice since the pandemic. We are aware that COVID-19 has affected everyone, but shopkeepers should not take advantage of this situation,” she said.
She also said that the markets might witness a further hike in prices in coming days if the relevant agencies do not intervene to control the prices.
Bakers, too, are finding the increase a bit hard to digest. Karma, a home based baker, said price for essentials food items have increased, including that of egg, is a matter of concern.
“We can’t raise our prices every time the price of our ingredients increases. In our products, we use a lot of eggs. We must also determine whether people can afford to buy; otherwise, I will lose clients if I raise the price of my products,” She said.
The Agriculture Minister Yeshey Penjor said, “We require a constant supply of day-old chicken that will grow up and lay eggs, and we require parent stock for the day-old chicken, which we do not have in the country.”
The country normally imports mother stock from New Zealand, Australia and India.
“ We are not able to import, so the number of day-old chicken will reduce, which means the egg laying hens will reduce, and the quantity of eggs can reduce, which can lead to an increase in the price,” Lyonpo said.
Lyonpo stated that the current pandemic has affected the overall egg production, resulting in an increase in egg prices.
“Bhutan has achieved a remarkable target, in terms of egg production. If we look at prior trends, when it comes to eggs, we’ve practically reached 100 percent self-sufficiency,” Lyonpo stated.
Meanwhile, there is no issue with the availability of bird feed supply. However, due to the current pandemic situation, all the flights have stopped lifting, and therefore, the country cannot bring in the parent stock of layer day-old chicks (DOCs), which further hampers the scale of egg production.
Over 898,000 DOCs were distributed in the last two years. There are 790 layer farms in the country today. Under Big Ticket Initiatives, 15 commercial layer farms have been initiated.