The price of eggs is heading northwards —33-38 per cent rise in the last one month. Contrary to the usual trend of prices starting to moderate in summer, these are registering an upward trend across India this year.
There are sundry reasons, the increase in prices of bird feed being prominent. D Chandrasekharan, a senior scientist at the department of animal nutrition, Veterinary College and Research Institute, Namakkal (Tamil Nadu) said, “In the past year, the price of soybean has increased from Rs 18 to Rs 30 per kg, maize from Rs 10 to Rs 13 per kg and rice bran from Rs 6 to Rs 9 per kg.”
At such prices, experts say old birds are being culled and many farms are operating at 50-60 per cent of capacity. The prolonged summer this year has also affected production. States in the north might see a 30-40 per cent drop and in the south, output is less by eight to 10 per cent.
“In the north, there is intense heat, so bird mortality went as high as 15 per cent and egg production was hit by 30-35 per cent,” said Mohit Raja, director of the Rajpura (Punjab)-based Raja Farms.
According to P Tamil Arsan of Pepe Farms, Namakkal, having a little over 500,000 birds, “In the last three months, feed prices have shot up by 30 per cent. So, farmers are culling the birds for better returns. The birds are being culled at 17 weeks against the earlier 72 weeks, which could even stretch to 80 weeks.”
A dozen eggs are being retailed at Rs 40-50, compared with Rs 30-36 a month before. The National Egg Coordination Committee, the association of poultry farmers (most of the eggs sold in the country come from its members), has asked the government to help.