They pointed out that the price of both chicken and duck eggs tended to come down during April and May owing to the school holidays.
Unabated food inflation threatens to hold long sway over egg and vegetable prices with indications that there is a drop in production of both egg and vegetable in the neighbouring States, which meet bulk of the requirements in Kerala.
Whole sale egg price in Kochi continued to be Rs. 3.50 a piece, maintaining the level achieved about two months ago. Price of duck eggs, a favourite with a section of the buyers, hover around Rs. six a piece, and the level is likely to be maintained for some time to come, retailers here said.
They pointed out that the price of both chicken and duck eggs tended to come down during April and May owing to the school holidays. However, this year the trend was reversed with the prices remaining high. This has largely been attributed to the rise in input costs.
Though egg price is up, it is still the cheapest source of protein as a kilogram of eggs will cost around Rs. 60 where as fish and meat cost much more, said a wholesaler.
Slackening production in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka owing to the prevailing hot weather is another reason why supplies have shrunk a little. Besides, with the price of chicken rising steadily, aged birds are being slaughtered for meat.
Ernakulam district requires around 15 lakh chicken eggs a day. The district also needs around 1.5 lakh duck eggs a day, said a wholesaler here.
At the same time, local production of eggs, both chicken and duck, have shrunk to negligible levels. The wholesaler said that while Ernakulam used to see around 1.5 lakh of locally produced eggs coming to the market a decade ago, the local supply had shrunk to less than a 1,000 eggs a day.
Meanwhile, vegetable prices continued to go up, owing to a sharp drop in supplies from neighbouring States.
A vegetable wholesaler said that while Ernakulam used to get around 26 loads of vegetables daily, the supply has now shrunk to about 18 to 20 lorry-loads daily. This was largely because of the supplies being routed from Mettupalayam and Hosur to upcountry destinations like Mumbai.
Besides, he said, there were large-scale exports, supplies for which were being sourced from markets that traditionally supplied produces to Kerala.
The prices of key items like nendran banana (Rs. 40 a kg in the retail market); bitter gourd (Rs. 35 to 40); bhindi (Rs. 15 to 20); carrot (Rs. 35 to 40) and French beans (Rs. 26 to 32) continue to hold firm. There is no apparent chances in a let up because of the rising demand and the present conditions in the production centres, the wholesaler added.