QUETTA: A vendor arranges eggs at his shop on Thursday.—APP
QUETTA: A vendor arranges eggs at his shop on Thursday.—APP

KARACHI: Egg prices all over the country have risen to the hightest-ever peak of Rs200-240 per dozen with surging demand due to harsh winters.

Talking to Dawn, consumers said the government has utterly failed in checking the egg price hike, leaving them at the mercy of poultry farmers and retailers who in turn blame costly chicken feed for sharp jump in rates.

Egg price in Quetta, the provincial capital of Balochistan, are now pegged at Rs240 per dozen while in other major cities including Karachi and Lahore see the produce at Rs200 per dozen.

Since the prices shot up, a large number of families in urban areas across the country are buying two to six eggs instead of a dozen or more eggs in one go citing cash crunch.

For the labour class, mostly men who have their breakfast at small hotels are feeling the pinch as their daily bill for anda paratha is going up to Rs70 due to soaring egg prices. Many now simply order a cup of tea and paratha, the prices of which are pegged at Rs40 and up.

Consumers blame govt’s utter failure to check the rising trend

Retailers in Karachi said one egg used to sell at Rs12-13 in winters, but this year it has crossed the Rs17 per egg mark –the highest in country’s history.

On the other hand, there has been no relief in poultry prices, with retailers fleeting consumers.

Talking to Dawn, General Secretary Sindh Poultry Wholesalers Association (SWPA) Kamal Akhtar Siddiqui said wholesale egg price is now at Rs5,850 per 30 dozen or Rs195 per dozen. Two months ago, 30 dozen eggs were pegged at Rs4,500 or Rs150 per dozen two months back.

The demand for eggs usually crawls up by 15 per cent in winters but problem is now decline in supply of eggs of same percentage in the market, he said.

He attributed the hike in the prices of live birds and eggs to rising feed prices. “Wholesale live bird and its meat prices are Rs240 and Rs360 per kg, respectively,” he added.

Consumers had witnessed a jump of Rs100 per kg in poultry products rates in November 2020 and since then the prices had yet to crawl down. Retailers in the areas have been demanding Rs230-270 per kg for live bird and Rs420-440 per kg for its meat without giblets.

Kamal said that demand for poultry is high owing to ongoing wedding season and thriving on line food business. “Around 800,000-900,000 birds are being slaughtered daily in Karachi alone,” he added.

He said poultry holds 45pc share in total slaughtering of animals which mainly include mutton and beef. “The price of chicken is still cheaper than mutton and beef despite rising price trend. Mutton sells at Rs1,200-1,300 per kg while veal meat is available at Rs600 per kg with bones and Rs700 per kg without bones,” he claimed.

The Pakistan Poultry Association (PPA) has been running print media campaign holding rising feed prices responsible for price hike in poultry products. Poultry feed is 75-80pc of the total input cost of producing chicken and egg. Giving a price hike comparison of poultry feed from July to December this year, PPA said maize prices rose to Rs1,800 per 40kg from 1,132, followed by soybean meal to Rs4,160 per 40kg from Rs3,273. Rice tips are now pegged at Rs1,900 per 40kg from Rs1,371 in July, wheat bran to Rs1,421 from 1,078 per 40kg, canola meal to Rs2,508 from Rs2,412 per 40kg and sunflower meal to Rs2,160 from Rs1,814 per 40kg. As a result, the 50 kg feed bag price has risen to Rs3,780 from Rs3,085, the PPA said.

Published in Dawn, December 19th, 2020

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