Eggs vanish from the poor’s platter

An unusual demand for eggs, which are highly recommended by doctors to boost immunity amid the COVID-19 pandemic, has led to a shortage.   | Photo Credit: RAMAKRISHNA G

Egg, the poor man’s protein, is now hardly available for the poor, thanks to the mad rush created by the COVID-19 pandemic. Its price has reached never-before proportions, with a dozen eggs costing close to ₹75 across shops. This is probably the first time that the price of an egg has crossed ₹6.

The protein food, which needed constant egging previously, is now the most sought-after source of nourishment. Since the onset of COVID-19, doctors have been advising a diet rich in proteins, especially eggs, in order to fight the infection effectively.

While the demand for eggs has decidedly risen among the infected groups, those fearing the infection have also begun to consume them more. “I hardly ate more than 12 eggs per month before coronavirus. Now, I make sure that I eat two eggs per day to boost my immunity,” says Sudhakar Reddy, a consumer.

Poultry industrialists attribute the price rise to the losses incurred the previous year during the COVID lockdown. “During last year’s lockdown, rotation of the layer chicks had been stalled temporarily because there was no inter-state trade. The entire production of Telangana was locked up within the state, due to which the prices had fallen up to ₹2 per egg. Later, it took some time for production to bootstrap, due to which the prices now have been rising,” says P. Vidyasagar, a poultry businessman.

He adds that the unusual demand for eggs has created scarcity, contributing to the price rise. “The communities which would traditionally avoid eggs have started consuming them now, due to the fear of pandemic,” he says.

Sanjeev Chintawar, business manager of National Egg Coordination Committee, attributes the high price to increase in the cost of poultry feed. “Prices of soyabean cakes and maize have increased phenomenally, and production cost has risen by 40% for the poultry farmer. Production has come down, as many farmers have shut business due to high costs. For 3.7 crore production in Telangana, now only 3 crore eggs are being produced. Nationally, the production has come down from 30 crore to 24 crore, while the consumption has been on the rise due to the pandemic,” he says.

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Printable version | Jul 30, 2021 12:03:20 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/eggs-vanish-from-the-poors-platter/article34799803.ece

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