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Egg prices skyrocket over rising costs

  • Published at 10:26 pm October 9th, 2018
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Consumers say if egg, which is the cheapest source of protein around, goes out of their reach, they might have to go without protein Mehedi Hasan

Stakeholders attribute latest price hike to the ongoing transport hike, among other factors

The price of egg at retail level has reached Tk120 per dozen, a level that stakeholders say is unprecedented.

In Dhaka’s kitchen markets and wholesale storages yesterday, this reporter found that eggs were selling for Tk120 a dozen in retail and Tk100-108 in wholesale. Both the rates are higher than they have ever been in recent years.

The retail price has hovered between Tk78-96 over the last 10 years.

Retailers, wholesalers, poultry firm owners and other stakeholders attributed the rising prices over the decade to continuous rise in the price of poultry feed, the effect of diseases such as avian flu, barriers created by two layers of middlemen between the farm and the wholesaler and the wholesaler and the retailer, and the ongoing transport strike.

Consumers are the biggest victims. Eggs are the cheapest source of protein for Bangladeshis, a 2016 study by Bangladesh Agricultural University says. 

Mahmudur Rahman, 24, who came to buy eggs at a departmental store in Dhaka’s Razabazar, became angry with the seller after hearing the price. 

“Egg is a common food item for students because it is easy to cook and cheap. If this goes out of our reach, we will have to go without protein,” he told this reporter.

Retailer Md Rakib said he was selling eggs for Tk10 apiece in retail, four for Tk40 and Tk115-120 for a dozen. 

“If you take 100 eggs, I can consider taking Tk900. We get the eggs from a distributor who brings eggs from the Karwan Bazar wholesale market. He charged us Tk850 today,” he added.

Abdur Rahim, a man who brings eggs from Karwan Bazaar to several retailers in Razabar, said he too, was making a limited margin on the eggs.

“I have vehicle and labour costs too, so my profit is minimal,” he said.

Karwan Bazar is the biggest wholesale kitchen market in the country. Abdur Rahman, owner of a warehouse in Karwan Bazar, said: “We are asking for Tk800-820 today per 100 eggs. Our profit is Tk20 per 100. The price has gone up Tk10-20 due to transport strike. But the main reason for high prices is that supply is low from the source, that is poultry firms.”

“We have not seen such prices in the last 10 years,” he added.

“We do not buy directly from the farmer. We buy from a middleman who brings eggs from different places in Tangail and Gazipur. They make some profit from the market,” he added.

Farms closing down

Abdul Motin, a poultry farmer from Tangail, said he was getting Tk760-780 per 100 eggs these days.

“Poultry food price has gone up to Tk33-35 per kg on average. Several years ago it was Tk25 at most,” he said.

Some diseases including bird flu, Ranikhet or Newcastle disease, severely harmed the industry last year, Motin said. 

“I have the facilities to keep a 100,000 birds but l lost my capital last year because of bird flu. My farm is much smaller now, with only 20,000 units,” he said.

Half of the farms in Tangail, especially in Sahipur and Ghatail areas, are shutting down due to their losses. 

“I am also heading in that direction. Only a price hike could save this industry,” he added.

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