Egg price shoots up: Who is destabilising the market

For individuals with limited income, purchasing one kg of beef at a cost ranging from Tk 750 to 800, or spending Tk 1,200 in a kg of mutton, has now become a luxury. Consequently, eggs and broiler chickens have emerged as viable alternatives to fulfil their protein requirements, given their relatively more affordable prices.

Just a few months ago, a dozen eggs were obtainable for Tk 100 to Tk 110, while a kg of broiler chicken was priced at Tk 150. The prices went up now with a dozen eggs costing Tk 160 to Tk 170, and broiler chicken reaching as high as Tk 250 per kilogramme. 

Market experts assert that the surge in prices extends beyond just eggs and chicken; it encompasses all essential commodities. This substantial price hike is attributed to wrong governmental policies and inadequate market supervision. Similar to various other sectors, a small number of prominent business groups control the poultry industry. The fluctuation in egg and chicken are intricately linked to the broader dynamics influenced by these larger market forces. 

Poultry industry owners claim that their production costs have risen due to higher prices of chicken feed and other international market products. However, the exact magnitude of this increase remains unspecified. There seems to be no valid reason to escalate egg and chicken prices at a rate exceeding the global market price surge. 

According to the government, egg and milk production in the country has more than doubled in the past 10 fiscal years, with meat production almost doubling as well. Product prices naturally hinge on supply and demand dynamics. It's essential to verify whether these principles have been adhered to in this scenario or not. 

Sumon Hawladar, the President of the Bangladesh Poultry Association (BPA), emphasized to Prothom Alo that it's essential to adjust egg and chicken prices in a manner that aligns reasonably with production costs. He believes that this approach would not only discourage farmers from discontinuing production but also contribute to restoring normalcy in the market. As a representative of small farmers, Hawladar also pointed out that the rising prices of eggs and chickens is the consequence of corporate syndicates. 

The government should find out whether influential groups are orchestrating the surge in egg and chicken prices, like other sectors. According to a Prothom Alo report, the Consumer Rights Protection Directorate took action by imposing fines of Tk 32,000 on five companies after conducting drives across various areas of Dhaka to oversee egg prices. However, addressing market stability requires more than sporadic and isolated interventions; a cohesive and comprehensive strategy is imperative. 

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With the current inflation rate exceeding 9 per cent in the country, some impact on the egg and chicken market is expected. Nevertheless, the prices of eggs shouldn't experience abrupt and substantial hikes every month. In this context, the challenges faced by small farmers should also be factored in. By providing essential loans to these farmers, the government can help them break free from the dependency on major corporations, ultimately having a positive impact on the market. 

For a while now, poultry industry proprietors have been advocating for a reduction in import duties on imported products. The government has already lowered duty on numerous imported goods. If a similar strategy is adopted in the context of the poultry industry, consumers are likely to reap significant benefits.