Now eating eggs will be as expensive as eating chicken as the price of eggs have reached a new high. The retail price of an egg is seen around Rs 7, for many chickens seem a worthwhile option than egg at this price point. At Rs 585 for every 100 pieces, poultry farmers in the Pune are selling eggs at such steeped up prices. This converts into a price of Rs 6.5-7.5 a piece at the retail end. If one were to calculate, given an average egg weight of an egg is about 55 grams, the price of egg works out to be Rs 120-135 in per kilogram terms which is a fraction below from the price levels of a dressed chicken in Pune which floats around Rs 130-150 per kg levels.
In Pune, during the last six months, the prices of eggs have risen considerably, from Rs 375 per 100 pieces to Rs 585 per 100 pieces. “Due to winter demand Egg prices usually rise at this time, while broiler rates fall because supply goes up, with the birds taking less time to reach slaughter weight. But we have never seen this kind of price spiral in eggs before,” said a leading egg products manufacturer based in Erode, Tamil Nadu. As per the egg products manufacturer from Erode, the broiler production cycle is much shorter when compared to that of eggs. After the hatch, weighing around 40g, a chick takes just 40-42 days to be a live bird of 2-2.5 kg in weight. During winters, that time is even lower, 37-38 days, during winter.
The executive member of the National Egg Coordination Committee (NECC) Raju Bhosale said that the jump in prices is due to an estimated 15 per cent increase in demand. This has been driven by vegetable prices also. Essential vegetables like onions and tomatoes are retailing at Rs 40-50 per kg, while cabbage, cauliflower, and brinjal are in the range at Rs 60-100 per kg. Bhosale said, “When vegetables turn costly, people switch to eggs, pushing up its rates as well. This is a imple substitution effect.”
The chairman of the Mysore zone of NECC, M P Sateesh Babu links the price spike to demonetisation. The fall of demand for the withdrawal of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes led to lower realizations for eggs as well as broilers. The Mysore zone of NECC works in an association with poultry farmers and traders. Farm prices for both averaged below last year’s levels right until July (see table).
“Along with demonetisation, Karnataka’s and Tamil Nadu’s drought raised the prices of maize to a record of Rs 1,900 per quintal levels. Poultry farmers were packed between low realizations and high costs. Many of the farmers went back to the premature culling of their birds, whose effects are being seen now on the supply side,” noted Babu.