The steep increase in the price of eggs, with each egg costing Nu 15, has affected the people in the east. The price was at an affordable Nu 8 per egg earlier. The price increase started in December, forcing the consumers to buy the imported eggs from India.
The import of eggs in the country had plummeted to 6 million eggs in 2010 from 13 million in 2009. About 22 million eggs and 116 metric tonnes of chickens are produced annually in the country. The livestock department said that tremendous progress, particularly in the poultry and dairy sector, was made during the 10th FYP.
In what could be the biggest blow to the agriculture ministry’s efforts of boosting home produced eggs, the poultry owner are already closing their business and most of the consumers complain that the eggs are becoming too expensive to buy.
A box of eggs that contains seven trays of eggs was priced at Nu 1,400 early in 2014 and increased to Nu 1,500 later. Further, the price increased to Nu 2,000 per box in July 23, 2014.
One of the eggs consumers in Trashigang, Deki, said the prices have been spiraling recently and she said that this is the highest ever increase in the price of eggs. She added that most of the consumers have now opted to buying the Indian eggs that are cheaper.
She said that this would affect the government’s mission of achieving the self-sufficiency in eggs. She also said that the markets might witness further hike in eggs prices in coming days if the relevant agencies do not intervene soon.
Another consumer in Pemagatsel, Sonam Choden, said that the eggs were available at Nu 7 to Nu 8 per piece in the market in the last few months.
She said, “Nu 15 per egg is very expensive for many people. Within a month, the prices have seen a stupendous hike.” She also said that if the local egg price continues to rise, then the Indian eggs would once again flood in the market.
One of the poultry owners in Trashigang, Tshomo Pem Dechen, said that the increase in egg prices is demand driven. She said, “Normally, the demand for eggs increases by manifolds when the production at the farm decrease and prices also see a similar jump.”
The rises in transportation cost and input cost of poultries have also inflated the prices. She said that many poultry owners increase the price of eggs as soon as they find other poultry owners increasing the price.
The poultry sector has, so far, achieved almost 100% self-sufficiency in eggs and chicken production in almost in 20 dzongkhags, with annual contribution to GDP from the poultry sector estimated at Nu 224mn.
As of now there are more than 2,800 commercial poultry farms in the country including the group-owned and single-owned poultry farms.