The World Cup ate my egg: Rising demand from the Gulf cheers Indian poultry farmers

Rising demand from the Gulf cheers Indian poultry farmers

The FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar has given a fillip to egg exports from the country as the Gulf nations have increasingly turned to India to bridge the widening gap between supply and demand.

Ukraine and Turkey are the major egg exporters to the Gulf countries, while India is a minor player. Since the start of the war with Russia, the supply from Ukraine has dwindled, presenting India with an opportunity to fill the gap.

Apart from the usual demand, the forthcoming football fiesta is expected to drive the consumption further as people from all over the world will converge on Qatar. Along with Oman and UAE, Qatar too has become a big importer of Indian eggs.

The shortage has also raised the prices of eggs from Turkey. “Eggs from Turkey are selling at $36-37 per carton of 360 eggs. Our rates hover around $30-31,’’ said K Singaraj, President, All India Poultry Products Exporters Association.

A major chunk of egg exports from India is from Namakkal in Tamil Nadu, which is the hub of egg production in the country. Namakkal produces around 4.5 crore eggs a day. The total production in the country is calculated to be around 30 crore eggs a day.

Egg export to the Gulf countries from India was thriving till about 5-6 years ago. After successive bird flus in several states and the outbreak of Covid, the shipments slumped. Exports had recovered to some extent early this year, and had reached about 3 crore eggs a month.

“Rising demand from the Gulf region has doubled the country’s egg exports, which is good for poultry farmers, who have been facing losses since the pandemic,’’ Singaraj said.

Local egg prices have seldom kept pace with rising production costs in recent times, which has hit the poultry farmers. “The production cost has increased from Rs 4.50 per egg to Rs 4.75. Unless they get a price of at least Rs 5 throughout the year, it is not viable for the farmers,’’ said K G Anand, head of Venkateshwara Hatcheries in Andhra Pradesh, a major egg producing state.

Currently, retail prices range between Rs 5.50-7.00 per egg in different parts of the country, which is profitable for the poultry farmers. “ But we do not see this throughout the year. If you take the annual average, it will be below the cost of production,’’ Anand said. Rise in feed prices is the principal factor behind rising production costs. Poultry feed has become expensive with prices of key ingredients like maize and soybean ruling high.

Typically, egg consumption goes up during the winter months, particularly in the northern states. But now, a significant chunk of Namakkal’s produce goes towards meeting rising export demand. Will this not raise the price of eggs further?

“No, prices will be maintained at the current level because the higher demand in north India is offset by the drop in consumption in the southern states due to the Sabarimala temple pilgrimage season,’’ Singaraj said,Kerala buys nearly half the eggs produced in Namakkal. With the higher demand for Namakkal eggs, egg prices in Kerala have shot up. “From Rs 4.50 an egg a month ago, it has reached Rs 5.70 now. This is likely to persist for some weeks as it is not easy to ramp up production at short notice, ‘’ said C J George, President, Kerala Egg Dealers Association.

Source – moneycontrol

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